Sunday Ordinary Time 16 A

Sunday Ordinary Time 16 A

God the Father alone can judge people.  He can make wonderful things happen. [To see the words of today’s gospel, click here.]

I want you to use your imagination: It is the time of Jesus or maybe the time of the early Church  community. Where are they? They are in Israel; it is a small country, part of the Roman Empire, far away from the center of power, Rome in Italy. The people in Israel are weak. They’re fighting among themselves. And Jesus comes. People look at him, and Jesus impresses them. People see His goodness, His power, His healing. And many people come to Jesus. But who are they?  They are poor people. The rich and people with power, they reject Jesus and His message. So the followers of Jesus, and maybe even Jesus Himself, are becoming discouraged.  (Remember, Jesus was human; he could be discouraged.)  They are wondering, “Is all of this worth it?” Then Jesus tells them, “Remember who is really in charge here, the real Boss. It is not me. It is not you. It is God the Father. He only is the person who will help this work to grow.  Let me give you an example.  You are farmers. You know when you plant a mustard seed, a tiny seed; it is very small; you plant it; you put water on it, and it grows. It becomes a huge bush, and birds come and sit in its branches. How does it happen? You do not know.”

Jesus says, “It is the same with our work.  Success depends on God’s power, God’s grace, God’s love. God wants you and me to do His will. Success comes from God.” 

In the gospel today the first story is a story about a farmer who planted good wheat, and then an enemy came and planted weeds.  The weeds began to grow.  They looked the same as the wheat in the early days and weeks of growth. But as time goes on, it is clear that weeds are growing with the wheat. The servants asked the man, “Where did these weeds come from?” The man answers, “An enemy did this.” They said, “Do you want us to pull up the weeds?” And the owner says, “No, wait; let everything grow together. Pulling up the weeds means you pull up the wheat and hurt the wheat. We don’t want to do that. Wait until the end. When it is time to harvest, then we will gather it all; the good wheat, we will save;  the weeds, we will burn up.”

The point of the story is who judges good or bad? You or me?  No, God alone is the person who judges; God only decides who is a good person, who is a bad person. We may look around and see other people not being very good followers of Christ, not being very good Catholics.  Yes, but can we judge them? No, we cannot. We have to leave judgment in God’s hands. Sometimes people are not very good now, but they can change. God’s grace, God’s help, God’s love can change them, help them to become better people. You know people like that, they are not always very good when they are young, but then they grow up and become wonderful people. We cannot judge. Judgment, we must leave in God’s hands. He alone is the Boss. He alone can decide. He alone is the person we trust to make the final decision. He asks us simply, to do what God wants us to do, to be faithful, to stay, not to give up.  God will use our efforts and accomplish wonderful things. 

Let me end with a story.  A woman tells a story about the time she learned something from her grandfather, a long time ago’ she was four years old. She got a gift from her grandfather for her birthday. It was a bowl of dirt. The girl  loved the grandfather very much but was a little disappointed.  She did not think this was a very good gift for a birthday.  But she loved her grandfather and wanted to do everything to please Him. The grandfather said, “Now I want you to do something every day. I want you to put a little cup of water into this dirt, every day. Remember, do it every day.”

The little girl really didn’t understand. But she loved her grandfather and wanted to do what he wanted. So every day she put a small cup of water in the dirt. One week, then a second week, nothing happened. She was discouraged.  She thought, “Why am I doing this; it is a waste of time; nothing is happening.” But she wanted to please her grandfather, so she continued. Then in the middle of the third week she got up one day to look at her pot of dirt. And she saw little green leaves growing in the pot. She was so excited. She ran to her grandfather and said, “Look, from the dirt came these little leaves, and all it needed was a little water.” The grandfather said, “Yes, it needed water. But it also needed you too. You have to be faithful; you have to continue, putting water into the dirt every day made the plant grow.  The plant needed you.”

That’s true for all of us. We have to be faithful.  We don’t always know how things are going to turn out. But If we faithfully do what God asks of us, wonderful things will happen. We don’t know the future, but wonderful things will happen. They will happen, because God is the Boss. He will make all things good for those who love Him.

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