17TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 4 / (White)
St. Alphonsus Liguori, bishop & doctor
Ps 103:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13
The Lord is kind and merciful.
1st Reading: Ex 33:7-11; 34:5b-9, 28
Moses then took the Tent and pitched it for himself outside the camp, at a distance from it, and called it the Tent of Meeting. Whoever sought Yahweh would go out to the Tent of Meeting outside the camp. And when Moses went to the tent all the people would stand, each one at the entrance to his tent and keep looking towards Moses until he entered the tent.
Now, as soon as Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and remain at the entrance to the tent, while Yahweh spoke with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud at the entrance to the tent, they would arise and worship, each one at the entrance to his own tent. Then Yahweh would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his neighbor, and then Moses would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua, son of Nun, would not leave the tent. And Yahweh came down in a cloud and stood there with him, and Moses called on the name of Yahweh. Then Yahweh passed in front of him and cried out, “Yahweh, Yahweh is a God full of pity and mercy, slow to anger and abounding in truth and loving kindness. He shows loving kindness to the thousandth generation and forgives wickedness, rebellion and sin; yet he does not leave the guilty without punishment, even punishing the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”
Moses hastened to bow down to the ground and worshiped. He then said, “If you really look kindly on me, my Lord, please come and walk in our midst and even though we are a stiff necked people, pardon our wickedness and our sin and make us yours.”
Moses remained there with Yahweh forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. He wrote on the tablets the words of the Covenant—the Ten Commandments.
Gospel: Mt 13:36-43
Then he sent the crowds away and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” Jesus answered them, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed are the people of the kingdom; the weeds are those who follow the evil one. The enemy who sows the weeds is the devil; the harvest is the end of time, and the workers are the angels.
Just as the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so will it be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom all that is scandalous and all who do evil. And these will be thrown into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the just will shine, like the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. If you have ears, then hear.
Like the disciples of Jesus we find it hard to accept that the Lord allows morally corrupt people to exist in the world. It is difficult to understand the impunity of the wicked. Worse still, they seem to thrive in our world where they seem to enjoy all the fun that it offers. From our perspective, evidently they are obstacles to the proclamation of the Good News. They impede the advent of the Kingdom of God. Today’s parable reminds us of the mercy and compassion of God. He does not immediately condemn sinners. Instead God allows enough time for them to find their way to conversion. The Day of Judgement, when God will finally separate the good and the bad, will certainly arrive but until then the disciples of Jesus Christ and the followers of the evil one will co-exist in the same world.
This serves as a warning for Jesus’ disciples not to be complacent. As in the parable of the Seeds the Evil One can snatch away interest and love for God’s Word. What is a good approach to the presence of the “weeds” in the wheat field of God’s Kingdom? Saint Paul advice to the Romans (12:21) is quite apropos: “Do not let evil defeat you; instead, conquer evil with good.” The Apostle Peter puts it differently: “Be calm but vigilant because your opponent the devil is prowling around like a lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith.”
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Biblical Texts are taken from Christian Community Bible, Catholic Pastoral Edition (57th Edition) The New English Translation for the ROMAN MISSAL
With permission from the EPISCOPAL COMMISION ON LITURGY of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
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