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home : opinion : word of faith

7/20/2017 9:00:00 AM
WORD OF FAITH
Being the 'good wheat'
BY SISTER ANNA MARIE MCGUAN, RSM


FROM A READING FOR JULY 16, 15TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
'The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words...' -- Rom 8:26


In Sunday's Gospel (Mt 13:24-43), Jesus presents three parables to explain what the kingdom of heaven is like:

* First, He says that it is small like a mustard seed, but grows into a very large bush. From small beginnings, in baptism, it becomes something great: a life lived in faith, hope and charity.

* Second, the kingdom of heaven is like yeast that mixes with flour. It becomes invisible when you mix it, but its effects are quite visible: The flour rises, and "the whole batch is leavened." St. John Chrysostom explains this by saying, "As leaven changes into its own kind much wheat flour, so shall you change the whole world."

* The mustard seed and yeast imagery tell us that the kingdom of heaven is something within us. From the kingdom of heaven as an interior reality, the third parable gives a big-picture scenario of the kingdom of heaven. In other words, the kingdom of heaven is also something beyond us, in which we are participating.

Jesus explains that the kingdom of heaven is like when a man sows his seed in a field, and his enemy comes along and sows weeds. Rather than tearing up the weeds, the man lets both the weeds and the good wheat grow together in order to salvage what he can. If he were to pull up the weeds too early, he would damage the wheat, and his crop would be lost.

Weeds or wheat?
We are all like plants growing in God's field. The question is, are we weeds or wheat?

The disciples ask Jesus for a deeper explanation of the parable, and He tells them that He is the one who sows the good seed, and that the seed is the children of the kingdom of heaven.

The evil one sows the weeds in the field. The field is the world, and the weeds and the wheat grow together in the field: In other words, good people and bad people live in the world, and God does not eliminate evil because, it some way, it is part of how He will bring His children to their final fulfillment.

The second part of this parable has to do with the final judgment. This is one of the traditional four "last things" in Catholic teaching (the other three are death, heaven and hell).

At the end
This is based on the teaching of Jesus. He explains from this parable that the "harvest" is the close of the age: "Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age."

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."

There is a definite separation between those who are saved and those who are damned. What we have to realize, however, is that who they were in life determines what happens when they die. It is the wheat who will gain entrance to the kingdom, and the weeds who will be burned. The choices we make now determine who we are and who we will be.

From Sunday's first reading (Wis 12:13,16-19), we learn how God is guiding our lives with His providence. In the second reading (Rom 8:26-27), St. Paul explains that "the Spirit comes to aid of our weakness" and even intercedes for us.

God is there to assist us every way as we strive to be the "good wheat." Let's ask for an increase of faith, so we can make good choices.





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