Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Wisdom 12:13, 16-19; Romans 8: 26-27: Matthew 13: 24-43
Are you a storyteller? Do you have a favorite teacher who told stories when you were in school? Can you remember your mom or dad telling you stories as a child? Storytellers make great impressions on those who listen to them. So too, Jesus was a storyteller who, in Matthew’s Gospel for today, shares with us three stories (Parables) appropriate to His time growing up in Israel.
These three parables and all of the readings of this Sunday speak of the goodness and forgiving love of God. We see that God brings a superabundance out of small signs and that we are called to do the same – to grow and be transformed.
In the parable of the wheat and weeds, we see that the weeds are allowed to grow along with the wheat until harvest time when they are separated. This is also a symbol of the world in which Jesus lived, and as we also do. There are both good and bad people, and both exist together, and influence each other as they grow. The reign of God is for everyone: no one is too small or insignificant to be welcomed into God’s kingdom. We are being called to see what God can do through us as we respond to God’s call. We are precious to God and a large part of the Body of Christ.
The second parable is about the growth of the mustard seed. It begins small and grows into a large tree. We can think of this as the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. He starts the Church, the Body of Christ, with a small group of twelve apostles which is transformed into the Church we know today.
The third parable of the leaven probably comes from Jesus’ watching His mother, Mary, baking at home. The leaven has a transforming power in the dough and causes it to spread and rise. Just like the leaven, which cannot be seen throughout the dough, the reign of God works invisibly through each one of us. We know that God first changes the heart of a person, and that change manifests itself externally.
Each day we make choices, and we can choose to live in the way God is calling us. We can be the yeast, the leaven of God’s word, which calls us to be welcoming, to be healers, reconcilers, and peacemakers. We must embrace change and growth and continue to be transformative agents in the world. Is this not what Jesus’ stories call us to be and to do? We are called to be loving, kind, and forgiving, just as God is.
Let us pray:
God, protect, and guide me when I encounter evil in the world. Guide me as I face what lies ahead. Help me to never underestimate what You can do through me. Amen.
Sr. Barbara Werner, OP