July 23, 2017
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying:
“The kingdom of heaven may be likened
to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came
and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.
The slaves of the householder came to him and said,
‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?
Where have the weeds come from?’
He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’
His slaves said to him,
‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds
you might uproot the wheat along with them.
Let them grow together until harvest;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
“First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”
He proposed another parable to them.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds,
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush,
and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.'”
He spoke to them another parable.
“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch was leavened.”
All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He spoke to them only in parables,
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:
I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation
of the world.
Then, dismissing the crowds, he went into the house.
His disciples approached him and said,
“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the evil one,
and the enemy who sows them is the devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels,
and they will collect out of his kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun
in the kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
REFLECTION (Sem. Eldrick S. Peña)
In our life, we encounter people whom we consider difficult to be with – people who have hurt us in one way or another, people who commit injustice to us, persecute us, take advantage of our weakness, etc. We might ask, why did God allow these “weeds” to grow with the wheat in the field? But such categorization puts us into possessing a holier-than-thou attitude, which makes us blind from seeing what Jesus really wanted us to see. We become too self-righteous that we fail to see that there are also instances that we become “weeds” in other people’s lives.
The greater invitation instead of questioning the existence of the weeds or even asking God to have these weeds pulled out from the field of our lives immediately is to ask if such weeds can be transformed into wheat. God in His great mercy can always make the good come out of a person. There is no person God created who is extremely evil.
We ask ourselves, can we make ourselves available to become God’s instruments in the process of transforming these weeds into wheat that we may contribute to an abundant harvest of souls in the end times?
We can only do this by beginning to recognize, that we are also sinners needing forgiveness as well and we are as wounded as those people who wound us. Given that, we become more understanding and accepting of other people’s weaknesses and it is only then that we become co-journeyers with them on the road towards a change of heart and eventual transformation. In the process, mutual transformation happens between us and the person we are journeying with. The person we consider our enemy suddenly becomes a co-journeyer, a friend. AMEN.