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 proposed a parable to the crowds. "The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, 'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?' He answered, 'An enemy has done this.' His slaves said to him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' He replied, 'No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, "First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but 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 as well as inconsistencies, limitations and errors. People of various origins, each one with her own story, with her own lived experience, her own opinion, her own yearnings, her own differences, meet in community. Some people 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 to exclude from the community those who do not think like us.
•The background of the parable of the seed and the darnel. For 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, 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 keeping the parable of the darnel and the wheat.
• Matthew 13:27-28a: The origin of the mixture which exists in life. The laborers 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 distracts 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 different reaction in the face of ambiguity. Faced with this mixture of good and of evil, the laborers 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 who they thought were different. 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 what each one lives and does. God will judge us according to the fruit which we 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. One must make a clear option for the justice of the Kingdom, and at the same time, fight together 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.
• Teaching in Parables. The parable is a pedagogical tool which uses daily life to indicate that life speaks to us of God. It becomes a reality and renders the people’s perspective contemplative. A parable deals with 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 meaning open. He did not determine it. This was a sign that he believed in the capacity of the people to discover the meaning of the parable, beginning with their experience of life. Sometimes, at the request of the disciples, He would explain the meaning (Mt 13:10, 36). 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 of seed and darnel manifested in our community? What 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 laborers who want to cut away the darnel, or with the owner of the field who orders them to wait until the time of the harvest?
• This parable adequately describes both good and evil co-existing, and the darnel may impact the wheat exteriorly, but the wheat cannot become darnel. As humans, we can take on the habits and attributes of those around us, thereby losing our beginning character and taking on another. In many ways this is growth when it happens in a positive way. Can one, living in community and accepting differences and contradictions, continue to be “wheat” among “darnel”? How can this be done? What must one do?
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)