July 23, 2023 – Thy Kingdom Come!

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Matthew 13:24-43

 

Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying: “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.”’” He proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’” He spoke to them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He spoke to them only in parables, to fulfill what had been said through the prophet: ‘I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.’ Then, dismissing the crowds, he went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I come before you wanting to grow in my knowledge of you and in my love for you. I want to show my love by truly loving others as you have loved me. My falls are many; yet I trust in your grace, and I always want to get back up. I trust that your mercy will change my heart, so that over time I will stand more than fall. I stand before you, ready to listen to your words and ready to unite myself more perfectly to your most holy will.

 

Petition: Lord Jesus, open my heart to your word.

 

  1. Uproot the Weeds: Jesus pours his grace upon each one of us; even a drop is enough to transform our lives. Why, then, are there so many weeds in our gardens? That little ugly guy we call the devil cannot plant weeds without our permission. How are we going to identify the weeds? How are we going to uproot them? First, we need to ask these questions: Do we want to find those nasty weeds? Do we want to do the work necessary to uproot them? Jesus wants to know.

 

  1. Our Hearts Were Made for God: After Jesus talks with us about the weeds, he moves the discussion to a new plane. He wants us to try to penetrate the mystery of his Kingdom, which he wants to plant in our hearts. Our lives need to be constructive more than anything else, meaning we need to be focused more on what Christ is sowing in our hearts than on the weeds we’re striving to uproot (though that is important). A garden is for growing plants, not weeds. Jesus wants us to appreciate that since he is God, he is infinite, and that even though we are finite, we are blessed with immortal souls that are equipped to grasp, desire, identify with and surrender to God and his will. His word is a living, saving word that refashions us in his likeness. Am I hungry for his word and receptive to Him, who is the Word of God?

 

  1. The Birds of the Sky Come and Dwell in Its Branches: Christ intends the seed he has planted in our hearts to grow into a tall, healthy tree, where birds of the sky find shelter. He wants us to be sowers of his heavenly seed. He wants us to be the means for his word to spread to others. Christ sent his Apostles into a hostile world—a world that believed in many gods, a world that had just crucified Christ. Still, the Apostles sowed the Gospel message far and wide, and it took root in the hearts of many. The Kingdom of God grew. Now it is our turn. Jesus calls us to be apostles, to sow his Gospel far and wide. We form part of an unbreakable chain of faith. Let’s live our lives as true and fearless apostles. Lord Jesus, how can I be your ever faithful and courageous apostle?

 

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, pluck out the weeds in my heart and plant your mission within me. Fill me with your thirst for the salvation of souls and move me to quench your thirst with my every breath.

 

Resolution: Today I will talk with someone about how we need to build and extend the Kingdom of God.

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