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.
Gospel Cycle Cycle A
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.”
The first reading today is not easy to understand. The translation from the original language is complex and so when we hear the reading, it can often go over our heads. And those of us who must preach about this reading will often just skip over it—because it is difficult to understand. The basic meaning is not difficult. The reading is simply telling us that God is all-powerful, but is gentle and always wants to give us time for repentance.
We could perhaps even say that God invites us to change our ways of living so that every aspect of our life reflects His love and compassion. Repentance for us means that we are willing to change our ways of living and even to see that many of our ways of living are not really what God is asking of us. Most of us want to follow God. Most of us come to Church because we believe in Christ and accept His Gospel. On the other hand, it is not easy for us to want to give up totally everything that stands in the way of a strong and vibrant relationship with God.
The Gospel reflects this reality that we live every day. We find ourselves with a lot of good within us, but also some weedy parts of our lives. The Gospel even sounds like we should not get too concerned about the weeds! Rather, we should cultivate the good seed, that which is really good within us. This seems to be a fairly consistent teaching in our spiritual tradition.
We must be careful not to think that we should pay no attention to evil at all, because that is not what the Gospel is telling us. Rather, we need to make sure that our daily attention is on doing good. One of the Psalms tells us: Turn away from evil and do good.
Following Christ is not just about avoiding evil. It is much more about learning how to love the good and to do the good and to rejoice in doing good. Following Christ is about want to know Christ personally and to rejoice in this relationship and to live from this relationship.
Perhaps we should think of the second reading! It is the Spirit of Jesus that will intercede for us and show us the way. It is the Spirit that will come to the aid of our weakness, showing us how to pray and how to live with joy and delight in the Lord.
This Sunday we can renew our desire to turn away from all that may be evil within us, to turn away from all that is evil outside of us and still attracts us—and we can ask the Spirit to draw us with love and compassion so that we want to live the fullness of divine life in every aspect of our lives. Let us give thanks to God.