Sunday, July 20, 2014

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, July 20, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
13 There is not any god besides you who have the care of all, that you need to show you have not unjustly condemned. 16 For your might is the source of justice; your mastery over all things makes you lenient to all. 17 For you show your might when the perfection of your power is disbelieved; and in those who know you, you rebuke temerity. 18 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. 19 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.
P S A L M - Psalm 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16
R: Lord, you are good and forgiving.
You, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in kindness to all who call upon you. Hearken, O Lord, to my prayer and attend to the sound of my pleading. (R) All the nations you have made shall come and worship you, O Lord, and glorify your name. 10 For you are great, and you do wondrous deeds; you alone are God.(R) 15 You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and fidelity. 16 Turn toward me, and have pity on me; give your strength to your servant. (R)
2nd Reading - Romans 8:26-27
26 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 itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. 27 And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.

Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
Matthew 13:24-43
24 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. 25 While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. 26When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.27 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?’ 28 He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. 30 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.”’ 31 He proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. 32 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.’” 33 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.” 34 All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He spoke to them only in parables, 35 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.” 36 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.” 37 He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, 38 the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 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. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”


If we had the Parable of the Sower last week in our Gospel, we have this time another “agricultural” parable: that of the Weeds and the Wheat.

       Most probably, according to Scripture commentators, Jesus proposed this parable in answer to accusations and objections on the part of the Jewish authorities to His affirmative behavior in dealing with sinners, to His words of inclusive love such as, “Your Father in heaven causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike” (Matthew 5:45). Even His closest circle of followers (the Twelve Apostles) was “a strange assortment of human misery,” as the Jesuit priest-author John Powell once put it.

       God wants all to be saved: good and bad, saint and sinner alike, with equal graces for both. If that is the case, who are we now to limit God’s all-embracing salvific love? Who are we to refuse accepting the weeds of life, and restrict ourselves to only the wheat?

       In the face of good and evil, we need an extra dose of patience — something which we must pray hard for these days. Our prayer should not be like that of the famous joke: “Dear God, I pray for patience. And I want it right now!” That’s not the kind of prayer which our Second Reading today talks about, the prayer inspired by the Spirit.

       Patience makes us endure the evils of this world— not only with dumb resignation, but with a song of joy. It is patience coupled with faith which makes us affirm that through and in spite of it all, it is still right and just to give God thanks and praise. We do this most especially in our Sunday Eucharistic celebration.

       May we all be motivated by God’s patient and all-embracing love in everything we do, as we strive to accept, love and uphold our society, where the Kingdom of God germinates — with both the weeds and wheat. Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB
REFLECTION QUESTION: How patient are you with yourself and with others?
Grant me Your kind of patience, Lord, to endure my own weaknesses and that of others until our innate goodness comes out.

St. Apollinaris, pray for us.

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