A HOMILY FOR THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “A” – 7/23/17 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
Weeds! Everybody hates weeds. Weeds grow everywhere, and with very little help or care. Weeds don’t smell good like flowers and a lot of other plants do. Weeds don’t look nice like some plants or shrubs do. You can’t eat or enjoy most weeds, in fact, many of them are poisonous. We pull weeds. And we spray deadly chemicals on weeds. And we too, just like parable says, burn the pile of weeds after we pull them, or we put them in large, black plastic bags for the trash. Everybody hates weeds.
And pulling weeds is not anybody’s favorite job. When I was growing up, my parents would use pulling weeds to get us to do just about anything! It was a punishment. It was a threat that always worked! Don’t want to go to that family reunion with the rest of the family, then you can stay home and pull weeds all afternoon. You want to go to that concert with your friends, then get out there and pull all those weeds in front of the house, before you go. You don’t want to help out at the parish festival this year, that’s OK, you can stay home and pull weeds while the rest of all go. I’m going to do that next year with the Italian Festival. You can either sign up to help at the Italian Festival next year, or you can pull weeds here at St. Maria Goretti all summer long. Bet we wouldn’t have trouble getting volunteers if we did that! Everybody hates pulling weeds! My brothers and I, we would rather mow the grass, or clean the gutters, or wash and wax the cars, or even clean the bathrooms, put don’t make us pull weeds!
We come to Mass today, and we actually get to hear three parables! Such a deal! A triple feature! And the main parable, certainly the longest parable that Jesus give us today is about wheat and weeds. And the heart of the message that we receive today is that we are to choose to be the wheat in building up the Kingdom of God on earth, and NOT the weeds.
God reminds us today that a judgment if coming. But now is not the time for judgment. And Jesus reminds that this is how God acts. And He showed us this by the way that He lived His life. Jesus ate with tax collectors, and prostitutes, and all kinds of other sinners. Jesus didn’t judge them. He called them. He called them to conversion. He proclaimed God’s love for all people, even for people who act like weeds! We all know people who act like weeds. We’d like to pull them up and put them into a big, black trash bag! But that’s not how God treats people who act like weeds! Our first reading today from the Book of Wisdom, reminds us of this same thing. Wisdom says that our God is so powerful over all things that that makes Him lenient to all people. We know that Jesus healed people, without a background check, or investigating whether they had repented of their sins or not. You see, what the parable doesn’t tell us, is that unlike wheat and weeds, we as God’s people can change. We can convert our lives. We can change from being weeds, into being wheat! And that hope for conversion? Well, that’s why God is giving us time. That’s why God isn’t pulling us up and burning us in fire. He’s giving us time. He’s buying us time, to change.
Today’s Gospel parable of the weeds reminds all of us of God’s patience. It also reminds us that judgment is not ours! We need to leave judgment up to God. Only God can see inside people’s hearts. We don’t know everything. We don’t know the whole story. That’s why we have to be very careful with the way that we judge others. We can all be weeds. And weeds judging other weeds is not such a good idea. Judgment belongs to God. And while He’s not always going to do it right away, in the end, God is always going to make sure that the wheat is going to be separated from the weeds. We don’t have to worry about it. And it is not ours to worry about either.
We are asked not to be less patient that what God is. We want God to be patient with us, than we must be patient with others as God converts their hearts. God never gives up on us. And I think that we can all agree that that is a good thing. We all like that! Then let us not give up on ourselves or others, as we strive to be wheat, rather than weeds!
+ May God bless all of us this week, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!