For Sunday, July 19, 2020 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin
The Gospel passage from Matthew for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time is filled with cautionary and consoling lessons for the Christian, as Jesus used several parables to describe the kingdom of heaven and the Christian role in it.
First, He compared the kingdom of heaven to a field where both wheat and weeds have been sown. Both weeds and wheat are permitted to grow together and only at harvest time are they separated, or “judged:” the wheat gathered into the sower’s barn and the weeds finally gathered, bundled and burned. So, it will be for each of us at the end of our time on earth. It is a sobering reminder of the justice of God.
Next, Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like the small portion of yeast that is mixed in with flour for the making of bread. The yeast makes up an insignificant fraction of the ingredients, yet it is vital to the outcome; without that tiny bit of yeast, the bread simply will not rise. Similarly, He compared the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed, “the smallest of all the seeds.” But when it is full-grown it becomes the largest of all the plants, a sturdy and hardy bush where “birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”
So often, the prayers we pray, the service we offer, the gifts we give can seem laughably insignificant in comparison to the immense needs around us. But, as Jesus made clear through the images of yeast and mustard seed, that is not the truth! God sees and “grows” our offerings of time, talent, and treasure in ways we cannot begin to imagine.
In justice, in gratitude, in love, let us remain faithful to the calling and mission entrusted to our care to build the kingdom of heaven, starting within our hearts, then among our family and our friends and finally in the community in which we live.
I want to invite you to participate in an ALPHA course starting on Tuesday, July 21, from 7:00 p.m. until 8:15 p.m. This simple 10-week course in Christianity is a way to plant the wheat seed in our heart that Jesus spoke about in the Gospel parable. I recently completed the ALPHA course and I am happy that I took the time to participate – and it was very convenient as an online course! Please register as soon as possible for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.