Saturday, July 28, 2007

Saturday word, 28 Jul 2007

16th Saturday of the Year (28 Jul 2007) Ex 24. 3-8; Ps 50; Mt 13. 24-30
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Our Mixed Field

We heard at masses this week of weekdays ending today parables Jesus. Jesus’ parables have variety of purpose. Matthew offered 17 of them. Jesus addressed the first set to his disciples and even, as we heard, Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.

The purpose of his parable of the weeds is to enlighten and to make faithful confidence stronger. The commitment of faith is the understanding Jesus asked. Faithful understanding grasps the significance of Jesus’ words for oneself, and more importantly, so that disciples in every age can pass Jesus’ words on to others.

The kingdom Jesus announced involved growth, decision and judgment. Jesus’ parables helps us grasp those three. This parable of the weeds makes clear the judgment aspect. Reward or punishment depends on one’s choice.

The parable enlightens, and it encourages faith, by describing the world as a field with mixed produce, namely wheat and weeds together. That is liberating, especially for those of us who tend toward perfectionism, for those of us who want to see things, people and events in neat and sealed compartments and for those of us who forget that how we choose has consequences for the kingdom or for the enemy.

It is easy for all us, maybe easier for us living in religious orders, to echo the fledgling people of Israel liberated from Egypt: “We will do everything that the Lord has told us.” We know the bible narratives and chronologies prove their statement false. Other desires overcame their desire to do everything that the Lord...told them. We are no different.

The difference we enjoy is that Jesus, the new covenant grew up among us, in the same mixed field we call humanity. The old covenant, which Moses related from the Lord, had its time. It helped, but it could not save. God visited humanity again in Jesus to help it grasp what humans had missed. Jesus will return again in glory and harvest the world depending on our choices for him and his gospel. It is not only a matter of pulling up wheat with weeds. We can mistake weeds for wheat and even see wheat as a weed. When we grasp that we are grasping the significance of Jesus' words and life well enough to pass it on faithfully.
Wiki-image of healthy and diseased wheat is in the public domain.

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