17th Week in the Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Jer 14:17-22
Let my eyes stream with tears day and night, without rest, Over the great destruction which overwhelms the virgin daughter of my people, over her incurable wound. If I walk out into the field, look! those slain by the sword; If I enter the city, look! those consumed by hunger. Even the prophet and the priest forage in a land they know not. Have you cast Judah off completely? Is Zion loathsome to you? Why have you struck us a blow that cannot be healed? We wait for peace, to no avail; for a time of healing, but terror comes instead. We recognize, O LORD, our wickedness, the guilt of our fathers; that we have sinned against you. For your name’s sake spurn us not, disgrace not the throne of your glory; remember your covenant with us, and break it not. Among the nations’ idols is there any that gives rain? Or can the mere heavens send showers? Is it not you alone, O LORD, our God, to whom we look? You alone have done all these things.
Gospel: Mt 13:36-43
Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 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.”
GIVING WITNESS TO GOD BY OUR LIVES: The tendency to evil lurks in all of us. We have to be constantly on the watch to remain faithful to our call and our mission. When we realize our short comings, we turn to the Lord with a contrite heart and the merciful Lord welcomes us with an open hand. Acknowledging our sins is a sign of strength. Our God is faithful, rich in mercy and compassion. The parable of the weed clearly explains the evil in the world. Jesus concluded, “The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Vs 42). Today we celebrate the parents of Mary, who were righteous people and a good example in the Church. Parents, elders, teachers, consecrated persons, etc. have a clear role to bring up the youth in the right path and values of the Gospel and the teachings of the Church.
Prayer: Lord, help us to bear witness to truth and justice.
MAKING SENSE OF THE SUFFERINGS: Jeremiah acknowledges the sins of the chosen people and sees the calamities that befall them as a consequence of their sins. However, he pleads with God to remember his covenant. When nature reacts and sufferings press on, we need to examine our ways and return to the Lord though sufferings are not necessarily punishment from God. In the gospel, Jesus explains the parable of the weeds and wheat indicating that the children of the Kingdom will face suffering in the hands of the evil ones. Despite this, the community of the faithful can be consoled that at the end of times there will be a reward, as the evil doers get what they deserve for the evil committed. These are words of hope for those who suffer injustice and persecution on account of their faith. Those who try to live honestly, will face challenges from a world so full of radically secular and non-Christian values. Beware! These weeds are even in the Church. We need constant vigilance not to be swept away by the glamorous offers of the world.
GOD OF ANOTHER CHANCE: We see God establishing a way of speaking to his people from the tent of Moses. Further, Moses returns to the mountain and gets another copy of the commandments but this time he writes them himself. That God gave them another chance. We also see that he is a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and forgiveness. In the Gospel we see that the farmer is God and the enemy is the devil. We see that the separation will take place on the Day of Judgment. Although the enemy is planting evil amongst us and in our hearts, God is merciful to rescue us if we love him and confess our sins. We need to remain awake in prayers so that the devil does not plant evil in our lives.