Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time: July 17 - 23, 2005
Alexander, Andy, S.J.
Collaborative Ministry Office
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The Sixteenth Week of Ordinary TimeThis Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time we are reminded that God has sown good seed, but, of course, an enemy has sown weeds in the same field. We are not supposed to go out there judgmentally pulling up weeds, but to leave judgment to God. The way the Kingdom of God grows is the way tiny seeds grow and the way yeast makes dough rise: it is surprising and slow and almost imperceptible. If we have ears, we ought to hear.Friday we celebrate the Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene and have as our special gospel the wonderful resurrection story of the Risen Jesus sending Mary to be the "Apostle to the Apostles."The daily readings continue our second week from the Book of Exodus continuing the story of God's faithful deliverance of the people from slavery in Egypt. Pharaoh has a change of heart and chases the fleeing Israelites. Moses tells them to "Fear not! Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the Lord will win for you today." With Moses' outstretched arm, they pass through the sea on dry land, while their pursuers drown. Still the people grumble against God in the desert and God gives them manna to eat, with Moses saying, "This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat." Then God gives Moses the Ten Commandments and Moses shares them with the people in a covenant ceremony, sprinkling the blood of sacrificed bulls on the altar, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you."In Matthew's Gospel this week some people come up and ask Jesus for a sign. He answers mysteriously by saying that the only sign they will receive is the sign of Jonah the prophet, whose preaching brought about conversion. His family comes looking for Jesus and he again asks the mysterious question about who is really a relative, an intimate, with him. His answer is that all of us who do the will of his Father. Then we get to hear the parable of the sower, again. It is important for us not to be discouraged because all of the seed doesn't find its way to good soil. Jesus encourages us to be sowers of the Word. He will guarantee a rich harvest. To understand his parables is Jesus' gift to us. Finally, we hear the parable about the weeds in the field again.. This prepares us for the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Next Sunday we hear Solomon asking God, not for riches or honors but for wisdom. We hear Jesus as the source of God's wisdom teach us more about the Kingdom of Heaven. Our passion for it should be like that of one discovering a treasure buried in a field or finding a pearl of great value, sacrificing everything to achieve our deepest desires. And, it is like the case of a dragnet that hauls in fish that can nourish others as well as what is not useful for others. There will be a great sorting out some day.