16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today we hear from one of the lesser read book of the Bible, Wisdom. The Wisdom Books are the one chunk of Scripture we rarely look at. The Wisdom books include Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Sirach and Wisdom. Sirach and Wisdom are considered Deutrocanonical books in the Catholic and Orthodox faith, as they are not included in the Hebrew Bible and therefore considered Apocryphal in most other denominations.

Today’s reading (12:13, 16-19) come from the third section of the book which reviews the History of Israel and God’s role in it. We hear that there is no god like God as s/he care for us and that gives us all ground for hope. We move on to Paul’s letter to the Romans (8:26-27), basically picking up where we left off last week. It is short and sweet. Paul reminds us that we have the Spirit who will help us to pray.

Turning to the Gospel we pick up the ending of Matthew 13 once again we have an option of the length. This week we hear of the Parable of the Weeds. Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of heaven is like a man who planted good wheat seed in a field and then at night his enemy came and planted weeds in the same location if the wheat. When the plants grew up a bit the man’s servants notices the weeds and asks if the man wants them pulled up. The man doesn’t want to do that as it might pull up the wheat as well. At harvest time the harvesters will be told to harvest the weeds first sending them to get burned and then the wheat to be stored in the shed.

If you’re lucky enough you might hear another couple of parables today the Mustard Seed and the Yeast. The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that gets planted. It is the smallest of the seeds but grows into one of the largest plants. The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman puts into flour that leavens the mixture. Jesus then explains the parables the Son of Man is the one who sow the good seed, the children of the kingdom, and the weeds are the children of the evil one. At “harvest time” the end of the age the angels will come and collect up the weeds and send them to the furnace and the righteous will shine like the sun. “Whoever has ear ought to hear.”

I am a fan of the parables as they sort of simplify the message of Jesus. Putting the main parables together from the past weeks, we get a big picture. The Son of Man goes out and scatters seed, it land just about everywhere some on the path, others amongst the rock, in with some thorny plants and some on good ground. In the night the devil comes and sows weeds in the world causing problems to arise, but the Son of Man says that he will not do anything to the weeds until it is time to harvest. This show the kindness of the Lord we heard in Wisdom that God cares for us and hopes that we can change into the wheat. The later two Parables are both to show how large the kingdom of heaven can become even if it is the smallest of seeds or a little bit of yeast it will grow into something much larger than it first began.

I think the most important part of the whole Gospel is that last sentence “Whoever has ear ought to hear” although this could just be a play on the wheat ears, I think it points to everyone having a role in the kingdom of God and how we all need to listen. One of the big problems in the world today is that people rarely take the time to sit and listen, both to God and others.

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