A HOMILY FOR THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE”A” – 7/19/20 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
I suppose that we all like to think of our ourselves as fairly patient people. We all try and be calm, even when crazy things are going on around us. And we’ve certainly had some trying times, times that test our patience, in these last few months. For some people, it’s their kids that try their patience and stress them out. And for others it’s their parents. Some people get stressed out at the post office, or license branch, or the drug store, or any place that they have to wait in line. Others can be patient with everybody, except that ONE person at work that drives you crazy. And then, there’s a whole bunch of us, who can be the most patient people in the world, until you put a steering wheel in their hands. What is it with that? If I have a Rosary, a prayer book, a pen, or a fork in my hand, I’m fine. I can be very patient. But you put a steering wheel in my hand, and I swear, it like zaps all the grace, the goodness, all the patience, right out of my body. Maybe it’s the airbag? No, I was losing patience when I was driving long before they had airbags. What is it? The steering wheel seems to change my whole being. I know that this happens to many of you also. I also find that I can be very patient with other drivers when they are not from Hamilton County. I always look at the license plate, you know. And I can even be forgiving when another driver is driving terribly and they’re from out of town. But if you live around here, and you know when that lane is going to disappear, or you know that’s a turn lane only, or you know how to do round-a-bouts, no mercy. No patience. A round-a-bout is NOT that difficult, people. You give the right-of-way to anybody coming from the left, and you enter going to the right, and you have the right-of-way. It’s not brain surgery. But being patient is hard, isn’t it? Jesus, said, “Love your brother and sister, forgive your brother and sister.” You can tell, Jesus never drove a car.
Today, we hear about how patient our God is. Jesus tells us a couple of amazing parables again this week. And the first one, is even about planting seeds again, so at first, it’s like, didn’t we hear this last weekend? But this Gospel from St. Matthew is different than last week’s. This week, a man has planted good wheat seed, but an enemy, Bible code for the devil, has planted weeds among the good wheat. So there’s a terrible problem, the wheat and the weeds are growing together. They are sucking up the same water and nutrients from the soil. They are growing right next to each other. And so the servants of man, see this, and they know it’s not a good thing, so they offer to pull up the weeds. But the owner says, “No.” “That would hurt some of the wheat. Let them grow together and we’ll separate them at the harvest.” What a good and patient idea, right? The parable is reminding us that we have a God Who is amazingly patient and kind with us. He has no problem waiting and giving us a chance to be “good wheat” and to bear fruit. That’s the good news today.
But there’s a problem. The problem is, that when the wheat and the weeds are growing together in the same little area, the wheat can sometimes start thinking that it’s OK to be a weed. And so, the surrounded by weeds, the wheat can stop producing fruit, and start acting like a weed! After all, it seems to be working out fine for the weeds. They are still alive, and growing, and nobody seems to care that they are weeds. The wheat doesn’t realize is that the weeds are going to be burnt to a crisp at the harvest time, so why not act like a weed?
My brothers and sisters, this Gospel is for us! Is this the right time for us to hear this, or what? We are the wheat. We are God’s beloved seed planted in this world, for a limited time, to bear fruit: Faith, Hope, and Love. And to build His Kingdom. The problem is, we’ve got a lot of weeds growing all around us. People who do not belong to God, and who cheat, and steal, and lie, and do all sorts of terrible things, as weeds, and, let’s be honest, a lot of them look like they’re doing pretty well. Nobody appears to be holding them accountable. Many of them are doing quite well living terrible lives. And they get by with it! In our weakness, it is so easy for us, as believers, as Catholic Christians, to be tempted to grow like weeds and act like the weeds. But we are NOT weeds! We are planted the Master Sower to grow up as wheat. We are God’s wheat! And yet, when we forget, or fail, or fall down, when the seeds of sin tackle and overwhelm us, our God is patient and kind, and waits for us to return to our true nature. You see, God runs His growing field with clemency. In His mercy, God chooses NOT to separate the righteous from the evildoers until the end of the age. It’s coming. And there’s going to be a lot of very sad people on that day, when they realize what they could have had. Until then, every single moment is an opportunity to grow in the state of Grace, and to repent and turn back to God, when we have failed. God even sends us the Holy Spirit to intercede and care for us in our weakness. God in His patience lovingly nurtures us through His Word and His Sacraments, to still live in this world AND grow to bear good fruit. Fruit that will save us, on the day of the harvest!
It is so good for us to know that this is the kind of God that we have! May God’s patience and kindness inspire all of us to be more patient, and more kind to others around us, even when we have a steering wheel in our hands.
+ May God bless us and help us every day, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!