July 23, 2023. 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Wis 12:13, 16-19; Rom 8:26-27; Mt 13:24-30).
Introduction: Today’s readings tell us about a very patient and compassionate God Who is hopeful that the socalled “weeds” among us will be converted. They warn us that we should not be in a hurry to eliminate such elements from the Church or society, or the family based on unwarranted and hasty judgment.
Scripture lessons summarized: The 1 st . reading from the Book of Wisdom shows us a merciful and patient God, rather than the disciplining and punishing God presented in the book of Genesis. The 2 nd . reading, taken from Paul’s letter to the Romans, reminds us that the Spirit of God constantly empowers us in our prayers and in our weakness. So, we should be patient with ourselves and with others.
Finally, in the Gospel parable of the wheat and the weeds, Jesus presents a wise and patient God who allows the good and the evil to coexist in the world until the harvest, and blesses the evil ones for the little good they may have done, so that they may come to conversion before their time ends: “Let the wheat and the weeds [darnel] grow together till the harvest time.” In other words, God is “delaying” the end of the world for repentant sinners, giving them more time, and offering them the graces of strength and good will so that they may get reconciled with Him. God calmly recognizes that there is evil in the world, but He sees that evil is no excuse for the good people not to do good with the power of God at their disposal. Through the parable of the wheat and the weeds in today’s Gospel, Jesus calls us to be patient with those who seem to us to fail to meet the high ethical standard expected of a Christian.
Life message: This parable was told so that we might not go around judging others as “weeds” or wheat. Judgment is the function of God the Father and His angels. Instead, the parable asks us to take a close look at our own life with the understanding that, with God’s grace, one can judge one’s own heart, then repent and bear good fruit. It is a time to look at our own sins and at the way we conduct our own life, then to make a decision about our own repentance so that, with God’s grace, we can turn around and bear fruit for Jesus. In God's field, we have two responsibilities: to grow in grace, God’s favor, and to share His Word and love with others. So, we should be patient with ourselves and with others.
Conclusion: We need, therefore, to practice patience and show mercy. By this I mean, let us patiently and lovingly treat the “weeds” in our society as our brothers and sisters and do all in our power to put them back on the right road to Heaven, especially by our good example, encouragement and our fervent prayer for their conversion. Let us remember that most of us have been “weeds” in God’s field more than once, and God has showed us mercy. God is so merciful that He allows evil to exist in order that what is good may grow. He allows evil to exist also because He can turn it into good. Through the power of the Spirit, God can change even the ugliest thorn into a blossom of Faith. Hence, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, says the Lord. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door to me, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20). And so, “…Let them grow together until harvest time…”