Daily Reflection 20 July 2008: Sunday Week 16 of the Year
Collect of the Day:
|O Lord, be merciful to your servants and give them yet more of the gifts of your grace.
On fire with faith, hope and love,
may they keep your commandments with unceasing watchfulness.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
||Wisdom 12:13 – 19
|There is no god, other than you, who cares for every thing,
to whom you might have to prove that you never judged unjustly;
Your justice has its source in strength,
your sovereignty over all makes you lenient to all.
You show your strength when your sovereign power is questioned
and you expose the insolence of those who know it;
but, disposing of such strength, you are mild in judgement,
you govern us with great lenience,
for you have only to will, and your power is there.
By acting thus you have taught a lesson to your people
how the virtuous man must be kindly to his fellow men,
and you have given your sons the good hope
that after sin you will grant repentance.
The Second reading Romans 8:26-27
|The Spirit comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God.
The Gospel Matthew 13:24-43
|Jesus put another parable before them, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well. The owner’s servants went to him and said, “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?” “Some enemy has done this” he answered. And the servants said, “Do you want us to go and weed it out?” But he said, “No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.”’
He put another parable before them, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.’
He told them another parable, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’
In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy:
I will speak to you in parables
and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.Then, leaving the crowds, he went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain the parable about the darnel in the field to us.’ He said in reply, ‘The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offences and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Listen, anyone who has ears!’
Today in the first reading we have a wonderful message from the Book of Wisdom on the love and mercy of God. The author tells us that ‘God’s justice has its source in His strength’. This is such an awesome revelation, although God is supremely strong and has no equal, He does not use this strength for selfish purposes or to force people to do His will. Rather His strength is shown in how just and true all His actions are. This passage can generate enormous hope for humanity because it shows that in the end, justice will ultimately prevail.
Many people ask why bad things happen to good people, or why the selfish seem to prosper while the righteous or innocent suffer. These question are as old as the human race, the one thing that seems to remain constant throughout human history is human nature. One only has to look at the book of psalms to see how close the situations in which they detail could come straight from our own headlines. But we as believers like the Psalmist can take courage because our God is a God of justice, nobody can escape Him forever. That is why we are told in Holy Scripture that “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” I once heard it said that on earth we only have the law, if we want justice, look to the world to come.
Now this reflection is not intended to bring fear or guilt to the reader, rather hope in that God is just and unlike human judges, God judges all with the same equality, but most of all He is a God of love and mercy. As Christians we must trust in His mercy while having a healthy respect for His justice, again we are told in Scripture that: “The fear (respect, awe) of God is the beginning of wisdom,” a saying that is good policy to meditate on regularly.