Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
God is a more merciful judge of us than we often are of one another. In the parable of the mustard seed in today’s gospel, Jesus assures his disciples that the tiny group of his immediate followers in his own time will grow into assembly of people which draws believers from the whole world. Meanwhile, small as they are they can still make an enormous impact, just as a little bit of yeast leavens a whole loaf. However, it is the first parable in the gospel to which the liturgy draws our attention, the parable of the wheat and the weeds. Undoubtedly from its earliest days, not all who followed Jesus were worthy of him. Even among the original Twelve Apostles, one was a traitor. In all likelihood, some in the early days of the Church got it into their heads to root out those who seemed to them to be unworthy. In this parable, Jesus warns us to leave the final judgment to God. Our human zeal may be praiseworthy but given our human limitations, we may judge wrongly about others. Also, as the Book of Wisdom reminds us in the first reading, God’s judgment may be more lenient than ours, as he patiently waits for repentance. Church history, sadly, is replete with instances of not following Jesus’ advice, and violent attempts to weed out the “unworthy” have helped discredit the Church in the eyes of many. Individual Christians, too, by their judgmental attitude, can drive those they consider unworthy away from the Church. Better to follow Jesus’ message in this parable and to heed the words in today’s first reading: “Though you are master of might, you judge with clemency, and with much lenience you govern us; for power, whenever you will, attends you. And you taught your people, by these deeds, that those who are just must be kind.”
Parish Question for Reflection:
Have I in my own way decided others are not as worthy as I am and tried to disparage their involvement in the Church in the eyes of others?
May we resist nourishing a judgmental attitude to our fellow Catholics which discourages them from working with us for the good of all