Gospel Reflection for the 16th Sunday Ordinary Time Year A – July 20th 2014
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on our parish website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
Jesus put a parable before the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well. The owner’s servants went to him and said, “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?” “Some enemy has done this” he answered. And the servants said, “Do you want us to go and weed it out?” But he said, “No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.”‘
He put another parable before them, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.’
He told them another parable, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through’.
In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy:
I will speak to you in parables
and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.
Then, leaving the crowds, he went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain the parable about the darnel in the field to us’. He said in reply, ‘The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offences and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Listen, anyone who has ears.
Everything starts small. The mustard seed was not the mustard we eat, but a flowering bush. Jesus illustrates that it had no purpose but to give beauty and shelter. To remind us of the beauty of creation, and of the caring shelter we can give to others. A reminder that each of us began as a seed in the mother’s body, and grew with the plan of God.
The love of God grows like that – it begins small with birth and with baptism, and then grows wide so that we share our love of God. It is the same with marriage – love begins and then grows so that children and grandchildren and others shelter in a couple’s love. Love grows when love is given, in our immediate circle, and in our care for the wider world. good friendship and love spreads out to many. Love consists not in looking into each other’s eyes, but outwards in the same direction.
The Work of Love
We want the kingdom of God on earth and God is saying it grows slowly. It grows as we try to grow love in our circles. It is not easy, as love and care for the really needy often meets with opposition. The kingdom of God grows with the help of God, and without that we get nowhere.
Lord, may your kingdom come among us.
Donal Neary SJ