Saturday, July 28, 2018
1) Opening prayer
be merciful to your people.
Fill us with your gifts
and make us always eager to serve you
in faith, hope and love.
You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 13,24-30
Jesus put another parable before them, 'The kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off.
When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, then the darnel appeared as well. The owner's labourers went to him and said, "Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?"
He said to them, "Some enemy has done this." And the labourers said, "Do you want us to go and weed it out?" But he said, "No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn." '
• Today’s Gospel speaks to us about the parable of the seed. Whether in society or in the community or in our family and personal life, there is a mixture of good qualities and of incoherencies, limitations and errors. Persons of diverse origins, each one with her own story, with her own lived experience, her own opinion, her own yearnings, her own differences, meet in community There are some persons who do not know how to live with differences. They want to be the judges of others. They think that they are the only ones who are right, and that others are in error. The parable of the seed and the darnel helps us not to fall into the temptation of excluding from the community those who do not think like us.
•The background of the parable of the seed and the darnel. During centuries, because of the observance of the laws of purity, the Jews lived separated from other nations. This isolation had marked them. Even after being converted, some continued to follow this observance which separated them from others. They wanted total purity! Any sign of impurity had to be eradicated in the name of God. “Sin cannot be tolerated” some would say. But others, as for example Paul, taught that the new law which Jesus asked them to observe said the contrary! “Sin cannot be tolerated, but it is necessary to be tolerant with the sinner!”
• Matthews 13,24-26: The situation: the darnel and the wheat grain grow together. The Word of God causes communities to be formed and this is good seed, but within the communities there are always things which are contrary to the Word of God. From where do these come? This was the discussion, or mystery which led to keep the parable of the darnel and the wheat.
• Matthew 13, 27-28a: The origin of the mixture which exists in life. The labourers asked the owner, the sower: “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?” The owner responded: Some enemy has done this. Who is this enemy? The enemy, the adversary, Satan or the Devil (Mt 13,39), is the one who divides, who takes away from the right path. The tendency to division exists in the community and in each one of us. The desire to dominate, to take advantage of the community in order to be more important and so many other interested desires divide, they are the enemy which sleeps in each one of us.
• Matthew 13,28b-30: The diverse reaction before ambiguity. In the face of this mixture of good and of evil, the labourers want to eliminate the darnel. They thought: "If we leave everything in the community, we lose our reason for being! We lose our identity!” They wanted to send away those whom they thought were diverse. But this is not the decision of the owner of the land. He says: “Let both the darnel and the wheat grow together till the harvest!” What is decisive is not what each one says, but that which each one lives and does. God will judge us according to the fruit which we will produce (Mt 12,33). The force and the dynamism of the Kingdom will manifest themselves in the community. Even if it is small and full of contradictions, it is a sign of the Kingdom. But it is not the master or the owner of the Kingdom, neither can it consider itself totally just. The parable of the seed and of the darnel explains the way in which the force of the Kingdom acts in history. It is necessary to make a clear option for the justice of the Kingdom, and at the same time, together fight for justice, have patience and learn to live and to dialogue with differences and with contradictions. When harvest comes then there will be the division, the separation.
• The teaching in Parables. The parable is a pedagogical instrument which uses the daily life to indicate that life speaks to us of God. It becomes a reality and renders the look of people contemplative. A parable tends towards the things of life, and because of this it is an open teaching, because we all have some experience of things of life. The teaching in parables makes the person start from the experience that she has: seed, light, sheep, flowers, birds, father, net, little children, fish, etc. In this way daily life becomes transparent, revealing the presence and the action of God. Jesus did not usually explain the parables. He left the sense open, he did not determine it. This was a sign that he believed in the capacity of the people to discover the sense of the parable beginning from the experience of life. Some times, at the request from the disciples, he would explain the sense (Mt 13,10.36). For example, this is what he did with the parable of the seed and the darnel (Mt 13,36-43).
4) Personal questions
• How is the mixture between the seed and the darnel manifested in our community? Which are the consequences of this for our life?
• Looking into the mirror of the parable, with whom do I feel more in agreement: with the labourers who want to cut away the darnel, or with the owner of the field who orders to wait until the time of the harvest?
5) Concluding Prayer
My whole being yearns and pines
for Yahweh's courts,
My heart and my body cry out
for joy to the living God. (Ps 84,2)