Readings: July 20, 2014,16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • Wisdom 12:13, 16-19

   All things are under your care, and there is no other god to whom you must justify your decisions. Your strength is the source of justice. You can show mercy to everyone, because you are the Lord of all.   You show your strength when people doubt that your power is perfect, and you punish anyone who knows your power but dares to ignore it.

    Even though you have absolute power, you are a merciful judge. You could take action against us whenever you like, but instead, you rule us with great patience. By the things you have done you have taught your people that a person who is righteous must also be kind. You have given your people abundant hope by allowing them to repent of their sins.  (© 1992 Good News Bible)

  • Romans 8:26-28

   Brothers and sisters, the moment we get tired waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.   (© 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson)

  • Matthew 13:24-43

   Jesus told another story. “God’s kingdom is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. That night, while his hired men were asleep, his enemy sowed thistles all through the wheat and slipped away before dawn. When the first green shoots appeared and the grain began to form, the thistles showed up, too. “The farmhands came to the farmer and said, ‘Master, that was clean seed you planted, wasn’t it? Where did these thistles come from?’ “He answered, ‘Some enemy did this.’

   “The farmhands asked, ‘Should we weed out the thistles?’  “He said, ‘No, if you weed the thistles, you’ll pull up the wheat, too. Let them grow together until harvest time. Then I’ll instruct the harvesters to pull up the thistles and tie them in bundles for the fire, then gather the wheat and put it in the barn.’”

    Another story. “God’s kingdom is like a pine nut that a farmer plants. It is quite small as seeds go, but in the course of years it grows into a huge pine tree, and eagles build nests in it.”

 Another story. “God’s kingdom is like yeast that a woman works into the dough for dozens of loaves of barley bread—and waits while the dough rises.”

 All Jesus did that day was tell stories—a long storytelling afternoon. His storytelling fulfilled the prophecy: I will open my mouth and tell stories; I will bring out into the open things hidden since the world’s first day.

     The Curtain of History

 Jesus dismissed the congregation and went into the house. His disciples came in and said, “Explain to us that story of the thistles in the field.” So he explained. “The farmer who sows the pure seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the pure seeds are subjects of the kingdom, the thistles are subjects of the Devil, and the enemy who sows them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, the curtain of history. The harvest hands are angels.

    “The picture of thistles pulled up and burned is a scene from the final act. The Son of Man will send his angels, weed out the thistles from his kingdom, pitch them in the trash, and be done with them. They are going to complain to high heaven, but nobody is going to listen. At the same time, ripe, holy lives will mature and adorn the kingdom of their Father. “Are you listening to this? Really listening?  (© 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson)

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