Homily 16th Sunday of Year A, 20117: Michael Ufok Udoekpo
· Wisdom 12:13, 16-19;
· Ps 86:5-10, 15-16;
· Rom 8:26-27
· Matthew 13:24-43
Whoever is sown in Christ Grows abundantly in love, mercy and patience!
Last Sunday, Christ, in his simplicity spoke to us in the parable of the sower ((Matt 13:1-23). This Sunday Jesus presses on many more parables from the same Matthews Gospel (Matt 13:24-43,). Together with the 1st and 2nd reading, we are being reminded today that we are a blessing and gifts in God's hands. These include a little sown mustard seed that gradually grows into a big bush with wide branches which later come to accommodates varieties of birds of the sky. We are also in the hands of God, like a small yeasts that a woman mixes with three measure of wheat flour until the whole batched was leavened.
In addition, God sows each of us like a good seed sown in the field with great expectations. Though good seeds, they usually grows alongside other competing bad weeds. Those who cultivate Wheat and Rice know the risk of impatience or not handling the wheat skillfully or mercifully in the midst of competing forces of weeds. In dealing with Wheats and Weed we need to practice patience and a lot mercy! Topics that Pope Francis has made the center and front of his ministry.
From today’s parable, it is better and wise for us to wait till harvest time to separate the weed from the wheat. Don’t forget this is a parable. “Wheat,” good ones, good life, the rich, wealth, good fortunes. “Weed,” perhaps not so good ones, the poor, the forgotten, and theill fortuned etc. “Wheat” and “Weed” all represent us, family members, and members of the Church, of saints and sinners and of the society as a whole. From creation and through the history of Israel, God has planted us in this life amidst other weeds and tribulations or exiles, persecutions, injustices, acts of racism, discrimination, tribalism, parochialism, wars, terrorism, and other forms of human- made hardships.
But in the midst of all these, it is proven, particularly in the first reading of today, Wisdom 12:13, 16-19 that, there is no other God besides our God, and he “cares for all.” His might is the source of justice once denied, men, women, children, the poor, and the weak of all ages.
Don’t forget, even plants and nature, the birds of the air, that neither till nor sow, God loves them and cares for them. St. Francis of Assisi whom Pope Francis took his name from , sings of this kind of boundless divine love and patience with all , in his Cantle of the Creatures, also cited in the LaudatoSiˊof Pope Francis, paragraph 87.This Canticle affirms the main lessons of today’s that God judges us with a great deal of clemency and patience, and gives ground for hope and repentance. He is erekehpayim (steadfast love, merciful) and full of hesed(kind) and tsedigkim (righteous), for those who are like little children, transparent and disposed to his kindness, love and righteousness.
We are called not only to be patient with our weak brothers and sisters, but to be kind and nice to them, to the plants, trees, birds, oceans and nature. By so doing we remind ourselves of what Paul says in today’s second reading, that, “the spirit comes to the aid of our weaknesses, for we do not even know how to pray as we ought.” For Paul we should be patient with ourselves and with one another, because “even at our worst moments the Holy Spirit is there guiding us… even though we may sometimes recognize his presence!
Our acts of charity, kindness, mercy, encouragement, empathy to the “Weeds” in terms of the “poor” in our society can prompt the “weeds” empower them, to be more fruitful and learn to become like “wheat” and feel more inclusive in the society, economically, politically, socially and even religiously.
In other words, like seeds sown by God that faces worldly competitions and all forms of temptations to sin, to fight back, to curse, to revenge, to terrorize, to be unkind, to discriminate, to lie, to be deceptive, to be selfish, to un-love, to be nasty, to gossip- may come back to Christ, realizing that whoever abides in him or whoever is sown in Christ grows into abundance of his love, goodness, kindness, mercy and patience.