Daily Homily: Gather the Wheat Into My Barn

Homily for July 20th, Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Rome, (Zenit.org) Fr. Jason Mitchell LC | 822 hits

Wisdom 12:13, 6-19

Psalm 86:5-6,9-10,15-16
Romans 8:26-27
Matthew 13:24-43

Jesus reveals the mystery of the Kingdom of God to us using three parables: the parable of the wheat and weeds, the parable of the mustard seed, and the parable of the yeast.

Today's first reading from the Book of Wisdom prepares us especially for the first parable. Despite the presence of injustice and evil in the world, it affirms God's justice, power and mercy. God will punish the unjust and rule all things righteously. He will manifest his strength when men doubt the fullness and perfection of his power. He will teach his people that the righteous and just must be kind and that he allows time for repentance. Finally, he judges with clemency and governs us with great forbearance governs us.

The first parable likens the Kingdom of Heaven to good seed sown in a field by God, and the kingdom of the evil one to weeds sown in the same field by the devil. The field of the world was supposed to produce a good harvest that leads to life, it wasn't created for weeds of sin and death. The parable explains the difficult problem of the existence of evil and the mystery of why God permits evil. First, he respects the gift of freedom given to his spiritual creatures. Second, God is not the cause of evil. Those spiritual creatures who abuse the gift of their freedom introduce evil into the world. Third, God is patient and looks for the repentance of the sinner. Fourth, he governs all things through his providence and draws all things to himself.

The second parable uses the same image of a seed. This time, however, what is important is not the difference between good seed and bad seed, but that the small seed develops into something great over time. The seed of the Kingdom was planted by Jesus on the night of the Last Supper. This was the night he inaugurated the Kingdom he preached about. Throughout the centuries the Kingdom has grown and it will continue to grow until the end of time, when it reaches its fullness.

The third parable doesn't use the image of a seed, but the image of yeast, which has an effect on the dough in which it is placed. Traditionally, yeast needs sugar and warmth to grow and make the dough rise. If we can extend the parable a bit, the Kingdom (yeast) grows with the sweetness of grace and the warmth of love. The place of growth is in our hearts and in society. We allow God to reign and we collaborate with others in making the world we live in a place where justice, peace and love reign.

Our life on earth is a constant battle between the wheat, sustained and nourished by God's grace, and the weeds, consumed with thwarting the plan of God and the action of the Son of God, the one who sows good seed. At the end of the age, the weeds, the children of darkness, will be gathered together and thrown into the fire. The wheat, the children of righteousness, will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

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Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at mitchelljason2011@gmail.com.