Gospel Reflection 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

It isn’t difficult to associate with the parable of the man sowing in the field. We have all felt the pain of growing up, in the Lord’s house, around weeds. We wonder why they are there, we thrash and froth at the injustice of living among these evil people.
We often want to take the matter into our own hands. It feels right to judge, to root out those weeds immediately. But, sometimes, this is not God’s will.
Instead, as with all things, we begin by praying. ‘…the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means…’ God, and not we, knows what to do. Sometimes, the answer is to wait. The thorny briars will grow big and strong, yes, but they will be taken out before the harvest is brought in. We grow up alongside them, but there is a plan taking place that we do not fully understand.
Perhaps we have an opportunity to use this experience to refine us. We can, for example, use evil that is within our communities as a yardstick, an example of who and what ‘not’ to be. We can guard against the darkness that lives near to us by living always in Jesus, our protector, approaching God through prayer and asking for the grace to live according to his will.
Now is not utopia. Now is not heaven. We should guard against throwing our toys out of the pram whenever we face hardships. We should also guard against reaching for our judge’s robes. But, within these trials, we encounter the seed of paradise, the beginnings of heaven. This is trust in God, devotion and submission to his will. There will always be an element of not knowing the way and part of this not-knowing is the injustice of seeing evil in this world, of being caught up in this evil. Remember that the harvest has not taken place just yet. We are on a journey and we cannot always see out of the window. The day will come when we reach our destination, and there will be no evil, no hardship, just rest in Him.
Jesus put a parable before the crowds, ‘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, the darnel appeared as well. The owner’s servants 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?” “Some enemy has done this” he answered. And the servants 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.”‘
He told them another parable, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through’.
In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy: I will speak to you in parables and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.
Then, leaving the crowds, he went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain the parable about the darnel in the field to us’. He said in reply, ‘The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his Kingdom all the thinks that provoke offences an all who do evil, and throw them into the burning furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Listen, anyone who has ears.
The Gospel of the Lord.