Sixteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time, July 20, 2008

Wisdom 12: 13, 16 - 19

Romans 8: 26 - 27

Matthew 13: 24 - 43


Word of Explanation:

The parable of the weeds, found only in Matthew (13, 24-30), carries with it a detailed explanation (13, 36-46) which doesn't correspond exactly with the point of the parable. The parable wants to provoke a reaction in the listener. The explanation is a commentary by the Evangelist on Jesus' parable. It tries to fit the parable to the audience and is thus transformed into an allegory. The parable about the weeds invites us to patience; its explanation displaces the message: we have to trust the final judgment of the Son of Man.



Todays liturgy offers a whole series of parables : that of the weeds; then two twin parables saying that from the least will come the greatest the smallest seed will become a huge tree and a little leaven suffices to make all the dough rise. In both cases, one has to wait patiently for the seed to grow and become a tree and for the dough to rise. The seed has to be sown and the yeast mixed in. Its a resum of the law of the Kingdom: to bear fruit, death to self is necessary.

The parable of the weeds also invites us to patience. The man sowed only good seed in his field and there are the weeds growing along with it! The workers dont understand but the Master is omniscient; he knows that an enemy sowed the weeds. So, without any show of sentiment, he informs the workers. No anger, no spite or desire for vengeance. Even more surprising, he gives the order to let the weeds and wheat grow together. The reason is that, pulling out the weeds might pull out the good wheat too. What is important is that the good grain grow. The rest will be taken care of at harvesting! We have to accept the fact that the Kingdom is a community where the good and bad are mixed. Moreover, it is not for humans to judge; that belongs to God and will take place, the disciples are told, at judgment on the Last Day.

First an explanation concerning the principle ideas of the parable: the one who sows the good grain is the Son of Man, the field. Then a little apocalypse concerning future judgment intervenes: the angels as helpers of the Son of Man are present to root out of the Kingdom all those who do evil. Lastly, comes the assembly of the just who will shine in the Kingdom of their Father. According to this interpretation, judgment is underlined rather than the intermediary time.

A lesson on patience, but also a call to change ones way of seeing things: look at the grain that germinates, the dough that is rising, the tree that is growing... an invitation to see what is giving life in the obscurity of current world events.


Sr. Sophie Ramond, R.A.