Liturgy of the Sunday

Deel Op

Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time


First Reading

Wisdom 12,13.16-19

For there is no god, other than you, who cares for every one, to whom you have to prove that your sentences have been just. For your strength is the basis of your saving justice, and your sovereignty over all makes you lenient to all. You show your strength when people will not believe in your absolute power, and you confound any insolence in those who do know it. But you, controlling your strength, are mild in judgement, and govern us with great lenience, for you have only to will, and your power is there. By acting thus, you have taught your people that the upright must be kindly to his fellows, and you have given your children the good hope that after sins you will grant repentance.

Psalmody

Psalm 85

Antiphon

In the day of my trouble I will call to you O Lord.

Turn your ear, O Lord, and give answer
for I am poor and needy.

Preserve my life, for I am faithful :
save the servant who trusts in you.

You are my God, have mercy on me, Lord,
for I cry to you all the day long.

Give joy to your servant, O Lord,
for to you I lift up my soul.

O Lord, you are good and forgiving,
full of love to all who call.

Give heed, O Lord, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my voice.

In the day of distress I will call
and surely you will reply.

Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord;
nor work to compare with yours.

All the nations shall come to adore you
and glorify your name, O Lord:

for you are great and do marvellous deeds,
you who alone are God.

Show me, Lord your way
so that I may walk in your truth.
Guide my heart to fear your name.

I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart
and glorify your name for ever;

for your love to me has been great:
you have saved me from the depths of the grave.

The proud have risen against me;
ruthless men seek my life:
to you they pay no heed.

But you, God of mercy and compassion,
slow to anger, O Lord,

abounding in love and truth,
turn and take pity on me.

O give your strength to your servants
and save your handmaid’s son.

Show me a sign of your favour
that my foes may see to their shame
that you console me and give me your help.

Second Reading

Romans 8,26-27

And as well as this, the Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness, for, when we do not know how to pray properly, then the Spirit personally makes our petitions for us in groans that cannot be put into words; and he who can see into all hearts knows what the Spirit means because the prayers that the Spirit makes for God's holy people are always in accordance with the mind of God.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 13,24-43

He put another parable before them, '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, then the darnel appeared as well. The owner's labourers 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?" He said to them, "Some enemy has done this." And the labourers 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 put another parable before them, 'The kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air can come and shelter in its branches.' 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 what was spoken by the prophet: I will speak to you in parables, unfold what has been 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 to us the parable about the darnel in the field.' 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 it, 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 causes of falling and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the upright will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Anyone who has ears should listen!

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

With three parables, the kingdom is first compared to stalks of wheat forced to coexist with weeds, then to a microscopic seed, the mustard seed, which becomes a great tree, and finally to a few grams of yeast capable of leavening three measures of flour. Listening to these words of the Gospel widens our hearts and our understanding, helping us judge and live the human experience. The parable of the weeds helps us understand the reality of evil spread throughout the world. The owner of the field notices that an enemy has sown weeds in the same place that he had sown good seed. And yet immediately he forbids the servants who brought this to his attention from cutting down the bad plants.
Why does this landowner curb the zeal of those who just wanted to defend his work? In the Book of Wisdom we read: Lord, "although you are sovereign in strength, you judge with mildness...you give repentance for sins." Human justice must yield to the mystery of mercy.
This parable, which is so far from our way of thinking and behaving, lays the foundation for a culture of peace. Today, while we witness the proliferation of tragic conflicts and the race to find targets (when we feel we are stronger), it is necessary to propose this Gospel parable again in order to privilege moments of dialogue and negotiation, or at least not exclude them. They are not a sign of weakness or giving in. They offer every man and woman the opportunity to descend into the depths of his or her heart to find the imprint of God and God's justice. It requires intelligence and even shrewdness to be able to look an enemy in the face and recognize in him or her good faith and the same desire for peace. It means overcoming the logic of enemies.
The parable does not say that there are no enemies. Quite the opposite. But it shows another way to treat them: rather than violently cutting them down, which risks destroying the good plants, it is better to wait patiently and choose the good. There is great wisdom here, which contains incredible strength. Truly this word of tolerance and peace is like that grain of mustard and that handful of yeast. If we let this word grow within us and in the depths of the human experience, it will defeat enmity and the spirit of war. If we accept the decision of the owner of the field, it can transform the whole of humanity. We do not need to be afraid of the growth of evil plants. What matters is helping the good plants grow as much as possible. In doing so we affirm the kingdom of heaven here on earth.