Saturday, July 16, 2005
16TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
JULY 17, 2005
16TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - A
WISDOM 12:13, 16-19
There is no god besides you who have the care of all, that you need
show you have not unjustly condemned. For your might is the source of
justice; your mastery over all things makes you lenient to all. For you
show your might when the perfection of your power is disbelieved; and
in those who know you, you rebuke temerity. But though you are master
of might, you judge with clemency, and with much lenience you govern
us; for power, whenever you will, attends you. And you taught
your people, by these deeds, that those who are just must be kind; and
you gave your children good ground for hope that you would permit
repentance for their sins.
Brothers and sisters: The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for
we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself
intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches
hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes
for the holy ones according to God's will.
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."
A religion teacher opened his Bible and turned to the Sermon on the
Mount, where Jesus proclaims, "You are the salt of the earth... You
are the light of the world."
Then he turned to today's Gospel passage about the wheat and the weeds.
After reading it to the class, the teacher closed his Bible, sat down
on the edge of the desk and said to the students: "Wouldn't it be great
if we could weed out the sinners in the Church.? Wouldn't it be great
if we could remove from it all halfhearted Christians? Think of the
impact the Church would have on the world if it had only committed
people in it. A million committed Christians would be a far better
witness to Jesus than 25 million
Suddenly the students began to see his point. They began to nod in
agreement. But a girl in the back raised her hand and said, "I agree
with what you say. But who would decide who's to be weeded out and
who's to stay?
A flurry of hands went up. One boy said, "I think almost anybody could
decide that. I can give you a list of names right now."
I'm sure each one of us can come up with a long list of people we would
like to be weeded out; this guy who borrowed money never intending to
py it back, that guy who comes to Mass and receives Holy Communion,
while keeping two mistresses, this woman with a poison tongue, who
slanders against innocent people, that person who beats up the
house-helps, this one who cheats in business. The list can go on and
This raises some questions: Would it be good to weed out the Church
from time to time? Would it help everyone - even halfhearted
Christians? Would it shake people up and make them more committed?
Would it help the Church become what Jesus called it to be: salt of the
earth and light of the world?
Today's parable of the weeds and the wheat may shed some light on these
questions. Let's take a close look at it.
The weed referred to by Jesus was sometimes called "fool's wheat." -
a curse to Palestinian farmers. In the early stages of its growth, it
looks very similar to real wheat. This was one of the reasons why the
owner told his workers to wait until harvest time. They might pull up
the wrong ones thinking the real wheat was false wheat.
And it is right here that the parable sheds light on the question about
weeding out the halfhearted Christians from the Church. Just as the
workers might mistake real wheat for false wheat, so we might mistake
committed Christians for lukewarm Christians.
Even more tragically, we might condemn someone, who seemed to be
halfhearted Christian, but has the potential to become a committed
Many of us at one time or another have been halfhearted Christians.
When I was in high school, I used escape from religion classes. Until
second year in college I was more interested in movie actors and
actresses than in Jesus Christ or the Saints. There would have been
very good reasons for me to be weeded out. But then you would have one
less parish priest today.
St. Ignatius of Loyola was more interested in the courtly life of
romance, knighthood and chivalry than he was in spiritual life in his
younger years. Yet, God called him after his conversion to found the
Jesuit Order. If people like him were weeded out as halfhearted
Christians before their conversion, the Church would be poorer by so
The point is this: Judgment is not ours to pass. Judgment should be
passed only at the end of a person's life and by God, not in the middle
of it by people. That's such an important point it's worth repeating.
Judgment should be passed only at the end of a person's life by God,
not in the middle of it by people.
St. Paul stresses this point in his First Letter to the Corinthians.
He writes, "Do not make any judgment before the appointed time, until
the Lord comes, for he will bring to light what was hidden in darkness
and will manifest the motives of our hearts." (I Corinthians 4:5)
Let us illustrate this further. Years ago a magazine carried a moving
story. It concerned a retired missionary and his wife. They spent
their final days on a tiny farm outside a town. The couple worked hard
growing vegetables and chickens. They couldn't eat all they grew, so
they sold their surplus to the townspeople.
After a while the townspeople began to gossip about how stingy the
retired missionary and his wife were. They weigh every vegetable and
they count every egg twice - no room for bargaining! Said one
townsman, "They wouldn't give you any extra tomato or an extra egg to
save themselves. I wonder what kind of missionaries they were."
Eventually the missionary's wife died. Only then did the real truth
came out. Every centavo the couple earned from selling their
vegetables and eggs went to two elderly widows, who depended on them
for their sole support.
This brings us back to the point St. Paul makes in his letter to the
Christians of Corinth. It is the same point Jesus makes in his
parable. "Do not make any judgment before the appointed time, until
the Lord comes for he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness.
And so we have to be content to live in a world and a Church, where
saints and sinners live side by side. A Church full of saints might be
a nice Church, but it wouldn't be Christ's Church.
Someone put it this way: "The Church is not a gallery for exhibition of
eminent Christians, but a school for the education of imperfect ones."
Charles Clayton Morrison put it this way: "The Church is a society of
sinners. It is the only society in the world in which the membership
is based on the single qualification that the candidate be unworthy of
Let's end with a prayer:
Lord, help us realize
that the Church is not a showcase for Saints
but a shelter for sinners.
Prevent us from passing judgment on anyone,
especially members of our own family
and members of our parish.
Help us take to heart
Jesus' words when he says:
and you will not be judged.
and you will not be condemned.
and you will be forgiven.
and gifts will be given to you ....
The measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you." Amen.
We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
- for the speedy recovery of Ernesto Hernandez.
- for the personal intentions of Cresencia.
- for the special intentions of Cha.
- for the speedy recovery of Nikki L. Pasague.
- for the special intentions of Evangelyn.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Wedding Anniversary: Boy & Ming Co
- for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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