By Judy Morss
Book of Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 8:26-27
Gospel according to Matthew 13:24-43
The Gospels read last Sunday, this Sunday and next Sunday are focused on the parables that Jesus told to the crowds. The stories are drawn from everyday life, but the deeper truths are not really evident until Jesus speaks to His disciples and shares secrets of the Kingdom of God. What a beautiful example of the private instruction we sometimes receive from Jesus, from God the Father and from the Holy Spirit. Jesus' disciples were the first to receive special grace and understanding from our Savior.
Last week we heard about the Sower and all the lackadaisical responses to the sowing of seed. We are often distracted by things of the world and our responses are not fruitful. However, when we are responsive to the kingdom, we bear good fruit, good works and faithfulness through God's grace.
This week we hear three parables that Jesus told the crowds. First, a farmer sows good seed in his field, but the enemy sows weed in the field. Instead of trying to pull up the weeds and risking the uprooting of the good wheat as well, the farmer says that the crops should be allowed to grow together. At harvest time, the weeds can be distinguished from the wheat and will be burned. This parable helps me better understand the relationship between good and evil. How many situations have you seen where good and evil seem to coexist? It gives me comfort to know that although good and evil may be side by side, eventually the evil will be gathered up and destroyed and the good will be redeemed. As I reflected more on the reading from the book of Wisdom, it struck me that justice should be restorative. "And you taught your people, by these deeds, that those who are just must be kind; and you gave your children good grounds for hope that you would permit repentance for their sins."
The second parable for this Sunday is the Mustard Seed. I love this one; it reminds me that Jesus sowed the Kingdom into His small group of disciples and knew it would grow into a worldwide Church. When I get discouraged about my small efforts and whether or not they can possibly have any impact, I think of the mustard seed and know that everything is possible through God. I may never see the results of my efforts, but there will be results.
The third parable describes the kingdom of heaven as being like yeast, or leaven. As I am a baker and love to bake breads, rolls, etc., I know the power of yeast, but I also understand the delicate nature of yeast. If it is too hot, too cold, or too old, my breads will not rise as I had hoped. I need to nurture that leaven in order for it to perform as it should. A small amount of leaven can bring about dramatic results. As I read this parable, I was reminded that we are called to be leaven for the world. We need to help bring about the Kingdom of God.
Next Sunday, we continue with the Gospel accounting to Matthew and will encounter additional parables. I did a little research on parables; they are defined as a spoken or literary "comparison" between two things for illustration. The word 'parable' is found 48 times in the Gospels of Mathew, Mark and Luke. Jesus uses parables for a couple of reasons; He reveals and/or conceals divine mysteries. Parables also appear to be spoken as a means of judgments against the faithless. For example, in Matthew, after Jesus is rejected by the Pharisees he shifts from His straightforward teaching to parables. "I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world."
Peace and Blessings,
Image By Andrey Mironov (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons