You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15
in Jesus Christ you opened for us
a new and living way into your presence:
give us pure hearts and constant wills
to worship you in spirit and in truth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
- Genesis 28:10-19a
- Psalm 139:1-11, 23-24
- Romans 8:12-25
- Matthew 13:24-43
- Genesis 29:15-28
- Psalm 105:1-11
- Romans 8:26-39
- Matthew 13:44-58
A Thought to Ponder
Pentecost 7 Matthew 13:24-43
“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 … “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed … the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants …“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.”
Matthew’s Gospel has been called the “Gospel of the Kingdom,” containing some 51 references to the kingdom or reign of God. Three of Jesus’ “kingdom” parables make up today’s Gospel:
The parable of the wheat and the weeds: God’s kingdom will be “harvested” from among the good that exists side-by-side with the bad. Palestinian farmers were plagued by tares – weeds that were very difficult to distinguish from good grain. The two would often grow together and become so intertwined that it was impossible to separate them without ripping both weed and plant from the ground. Jesus teaches his impatient followers that the Lord of the harvest is more concerned with the growth of the wheat than with the elimination of the weeds. The time for separation and burning will come in God’s own time; our concern should be that of our own faithfulness.
The parable of the mustard seed: The smallest and humblest are enabled by the Holy Spirit to do great things in the kingdom of God. From small and humble beginnings, God’s kingdom will grow.
The parable of the yeast: A small amount of yeast mixed with three measures of flour can make enough bread to feed over a hundred. In the same way, God’s reign is a powerful albeit unseen force.
Matthew’s Gospel was written some 50 years after Jesus’ death and 15 years after the destruction of Jerusalem. By this time, it is clear to the community of Christians that Jesus is not going to be accepted by all of Israel as the Messiah. In citing these parables, the writer of Matthew encouraged the largely Jewish Christian community to see itself as the legitimate heir to God’s promises to Israel. They were the “good wheat” existing side by side with the “weeds” that would destroy it, the small mustard seed that would give rise to the great and mighty tree of the Church, the small amount of yeast that would become bread for the world.
“The wheat and weeds”: We often approach religion as a deadly serious business; we lose the spirit of joy and the sense of hope that are part of the promise of the Risen Christ. We become so concerned about pulling out the weeds that we forget to harvest the grain; we become so focused on the evil and abuses that surround us and “threaten” us that we fail to realize and celebrate the healing and life-giving presence of God in our very midst; we become so intent in upbraiding and punishing sinners that our own lives become mired in gloom and despair. The task of judging sinners belongs to God; to us belongs the work of compassion and reconciliation.
When we hear Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the weeds, we first think of good people (the wheat) and bad people (the weeds) coexisting in an imperfect world until the coming of God’s kingdom. But every individual possesses something of both the “good” wheat and “evil” weed. Every one of us possesses the ability to do compassionate and just things out of love — but there exists within us the same ability to do destructive things out of selfishness and greed. Discipleship recognizes that struggle existing within each one of us but also embraces the hope that, in seeking to imitate Christ’s spirit of loving servanthood, we may be “wheat” for a world that is often choking in “weeds.”
“Mustard seed”: All of us, at some time, are called to be “mustard seeds,” to do the small, thankless things that are necessary to bring a sense of wholeness and fulfillment to our homes and communities. From such “mustard seeds” is yielded a great harvest of peace and reconciliation.
“Yeast”: In baptism, we accept God’s call to be “yeast,” to be the bread of compassion, justice and forgiveness to a world which is desperately hungry in its despair and hopelessness. © Connections/MediaWorks
You can read the Pew Sheet herePentecost-7-A