Reflections on Scripture Sixteenth Sunday Gospel A The Kingdom of Heaven

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Sixteenth Sunday Gospel A

Jesus proposed another parable to them. "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."'" 
· The weed plant at first looks like the wheat. As the plants mature the roots of both intertwine. The weed is both bitter and mildly toxic. It needs to be separated from the wheat prior to milling; otherwise the flour is ruined. Thus, servants would separate the grains after cutting them by spreading them on a flat surface and then removing the weed, which is a different color at that stage.
· Jesus reminds us that we should not anticipate the final judgment of God by excluding even known sinners from the kingdom. God has the final judgment. Until then we much continue to share the Good News with others and to urge repentance.

· Apply this to our relationship with others in the Church. Jesus calls us to be patient with those who seem to be superficial in faith and to trust that God will deal with them at the right time.

· How patient are we with others?

· What are the “weeds” in our life that threatens to chock off the good that is there? How are we dealing with them?
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.'" 
· This parable and the one following bring out the same thought: the contrast between the initial, small beginning and the tremendous growth that occurs.
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." 
· How is our spiritual journey likened to the parables of the mustard seed and the yeast?
· Do we sometimes get discouraged in our spiritual journey because we do not see much progress happening? We must not be discouraged by small beginnings -- must not judge too quickly that which seems hopeless.

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."
· Even though to the crowds Jesus spoke to them in parables, when asked to explain by the disciples, he turns the parable into an allegory (every detail has a hidden or symbolic meaning)

 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. 
· When Jesus states the parable of the weeds the emphasis is on the need for patience until judgment time. But when Jesus explains the parable the emphasis is on how the wicked will have a fearful end.

· Which of these parables has the most meaning for you? What is Jesus’ message to you through these parables?

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