July 20, 2008
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

First Reading: Wisdom 12: 13, 16-19
Psalm 86
Second Reading:
Romans 8: 26-27
Gospel: Matthew 13: 24-43

Our heart is where we keep all treasures – good and bad treasures. Our heart is where we keep all our memories – good and bad memories. Our heart is also God’s farmland. In our heart, God plants his seed of goodness. This seed of goodness must continue to grow to perfection “just as our heavenly Father is perfect.”

However, sometimes this farmland – this heart of ours is full of all kinds of assorted weeds – just like assorted teabags. In other words, we sometimes allow our heart to be infested with weeds of inabilities, weeds of inabilities, weeds of imperfections etc: For example, our hearts may be infested with weeds of inability to deal with our shortcomings, or weeds of anger – revenge and retaliation. We sometimes allow our heart to be infested with weeds of resentment of others, disgust for others, being troublemakers or people who rejoice in stirring the pot for negative reactions or attention.

Sometimes, our heart – this farmland belonging to God is infested with conceit and slavery of every kind: slavery to money and wealth, slavery to power, dominance and injustices, slavery to racism and superiority, slavery to bullying, slavery to abusive behaviour and attitudes, slavery to committing violence against a neighbour or spouse, slavery to consciously hurting others, slavery to using bad language to describe others, slavery to taking what does not belong to us – or simply being a slave to doing terrible things against oneself or neighbours.

All of us have both bad seed bad weed in us; God has endowed each one of us with good seeds and good weeds in our hearts. In order for the Kingdom of God to rest in our hearts and to be realized amongst us as a family, God, despite the bad seeds and bad weeds of our imperfections does not give up on any of us. Instead, God shows us his infinite patience, just as the farmer asked his slaves to wait until harvest time before sifting bad weeds from the good seeds. At the same time, God does not want us to give up on ourselves when the going becomes tough; God does not to give up on others either. Yes, when we fail to plan, we plan to fail in life.

So, what is the antidote to bad weeds and bad seeds in our hearts? I suggest two antidotes. [Demonstrate with a litre of “Round-up Concentrate” that farmers use to clear weeds]. We all know the works of roundup concentrate. God is asking us to roundup every bad weed or bad seed from our hearts. The second antidote is PRAYER – PRAYER – PRAYER and PRAYING, for only prayer prevents us from falling away from intimacy with God and neighbour.

In drawing us closer to God, Matthew in today’s gospel alludes to yeast. The yeast is God’s spirit in our heart. Yeast mixes with flour and the two become one and inseparable. In other words, when we mix well with God, so to speak, we mix with God and we become one and inseparable with God. In essence, we become God’s seed of goodness in other’s life.

So, who am I? Who are you? Who are we as Church, as Parish and parishioners and as people of God? The good seed or the bad weed?

Father John-Baptist Okai
Priest Moderator
St. Cecilia Parish, Regina SK Canada

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