16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2017

16A   Wisdom 12:13, 16-19.  For me two points stand out in this reading.  First, our God is the one and only almighty God. Words or phrases that indicate this that are used in this reading are:  ‘your might,’ ‘your power,’ ‘master of might,’ ‘your mastery over all things’.  Secondly, our God is just and caring: ‘you who have the care of all,’ ‘source of justice,’ ‘lenient to all,’ ‘judge with clemency,’ ‘with much lenience you govern us,’ ‘permit repentance for their sins’. Because God is almighty he can afford to be lenient and caring without losing control over all people and things.  The gods of other peoples could care less about anyone else and have only certain areas of competence.  We are spectacularly blessed by the infinite power of our God who uses his power with loving care for us.  Praise be to our wondrous God!

Matthew 13:24-43.  The wheat of the first parable are the children of God’s kingdom; the weeds, the children of the devil.  They grow together which makes the world a difficult place to grow up in because we are, at the very least, uncomfortable, if not antagonistic, to one another, which is probably why Christianity has had so many martyrs for the faith.  The harvest is the judgment and the harvesters, the angels.  “They will throw” the weeds, i.e. the children of the evil, “into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.  The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”  Of course, by the way we choose to live our lives we are weeds or wheat and so we will be punished or rewarded accordingly.  Jesus gives to those who have ears to hear the stark truth or reality.  However the weeds are those who have chosen not to have ears to hear.  Putting our faith, putting our lives in the hands of someone we do not see or cannot physically hear requires taking a risk.  Jesus spoke in parables to shield “what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world” from those who were unwilling to take risk of believing or trusting what is beyond the physical or visible, beyond what the eyes and ears of flesh see and hear.  Faith requires that we come to the God who comes to us, putting our lives in the hands of someone who is beyond the grasp of this world.  The journey to heaven through this world is a struggle, a carrying of the cross, always going forward but never seeing the way clearly because we must trust in a God who sees us through.

Romans 8:26-27.   We journey on our way to heaven with the necessary aid of the Holy Spirit.  He intercedes for those who struggle to be holy according to God’s will.  The Holy Spirit prays for us with inexpressible groanings so that we achieve the holiness that the Father desires for us.  The disciples “said, ‘Who then can be saved?’  Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.’” (Matthew 19:25b -26)