16th Sunday in Ordinary Time-July 23rd

Jul 25, 2017

     Holland is famous for its fields of flowers, especially its tulips, as times stretching as far as the eye can see.  Their delicate and varying colors are a delight for everyone to behold.  There is one though especially beautiful scene to be found mainly in the south of Holland:  it is a wheat field in June.  The soft green waves of wheat turning to gold are tinted here and there with the contrasting blue of the cornflower.  The scene is a poet's and painter's paradise.  But it is a sad one however for the farmer.  For the blue blossoms of the harmful cornflower mean that his crop could be up to one third less than usual.  There is no way of rooting out those attractive weeds without seriously hurting his wheat field.  Another worry is that tourists will trample down his grain trying to pick the beautiful blue blossoms of the cornflower.

     We could ask, why did God make this weed so attractive and yet so harmful.  To the Dutch farmer, the cornflower, or concockle, as it is sometimes called, is a mistake of nature, something that somehow cannot be in tune with the goodness of God.  This same situation as our Scriptures proclaimed to us exists in the field of everyday human life.  The great majority of people, I think, are trying to be good.  They try to be honest, kind, sober, clean of heart, according to what they understand to be decent and just. Yet, in life we find weeds in this same field.  Weeds of men and women who make no effort to be good wheat, that is to be good persons.  Inwardly they are evil, although outwardly their way of life may appear attractive.  Often they prosper, they succeed, and seem to thrive.  They have comfortable clothes, plenty of food and money, as well as good health.  These folks are attractive weeds like the cornflower.  Yet, they can do harm to the wheat.

     Why does God permit the irreligious, worldly, and even seriously sinful people to thrive and succeed?  Well, the Lord Jesus gives us the answer in today's Gospel.  God has planted the wheat, the good people in the world.  The enemy, the devil, has planted the weeds-the wicked people.  Jesus tells us to let both the wheat and the weeds grow together until the harvest, or judgement day, when the wheat will be gathered and saved for eternal life, while the weeds will be gathered and burned in the fires of hell!

     God is loving, merciful, and forgiving; but, He is also just.  One reason I think He allows the evil people of the world to be materially successful is to allow them to receive their reward now, perhaps for the little good they may have done.  He sometimes permits the good to suffer on earth for the few wrongs they have done so that they may be purified allowing them a joy that will be more complete at the final judgement.

     We asked in our opening prayer:  "Father, let the gift of Your life continue to grow in us."  In the first reading we prayed to God:  "Though You are Master of might, You judge with clemency, and with much lenience You govern us. In the Responsorial Psalm, we cried out: "You, Oh Lord, are merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and fidelity."

     There is something more that needs to be said about the wheat and the weeds.  The wheat through the grace of Jesus have been saved, you and I if we live our lives for Him and reject the sin of the world;  whereas, the weeds still have time to change, to convert their lives back to Him.  This is the main purpose of Our Lord's coming into this world to save us sinners.  This is the main reason why you and I need the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the source of grace and mercy and forgiveness that the world continually needs for salvation.  The sacrifice of Calvary renewed is what takes place at each Mass.  To bring us sinners back to our senses, changing our human weedyness into human wheat.  Not gathered to be burned but gathered to celebrate what it means to live and rejoice in the world to come.

     May God Bless you and may we all one day rejoice at the harvest of souls that will last forever in Heaven. and that we have helped gather in by our prayers and sacrifices for love of God and neighbor!