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Homily for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wisdom 12: 13. 16-19 Romans 8' 26-27 Matthew 13' 2443

Saint John Baptist de LaSalle/Saint Stephen July 22. 2023

During my childhood, my grandparents owned a large farm, and two of my uncles also owned farms. My parents bought a piece of land where they would build their house, and this land was also part of a farm. So, you could say that I grew up on a farm, or farms, where I watched the crops be planted and harvested, where I would laugh and cry and play. Although there are many farms, orchards, and vineyards, in the county in which we live, there are certainly not as many farms or farmers as there used to be. There are certainly a lot fewer farms in our day and age than there were in the time of Jesus. So, sometimes, when I read these Gospel stories, that we call parables, they make me wonder what sorts of images Jesus might use if he came into our Church to give the homily. Well, unfortunately, Jesus is not giving the homily at today's Mass, and that means you have only me, and my opinion, of what these parables are all about. So, that means we have today’s Gospel, that contains two stories about farming.

A word of caution, however: these stories are really not about farming; they are about something deeper that each person experiences in life. The story itself is told to better help us understand the deeper meaning of God. We should remember that God is not just one more being within the world. The world comes forth from God as a gift of God's love. God is the giver of the gift, not the gift itself. Or, as Jesus put it, “God is the Sower, not the seed or the soil.” “The Kingdom of Heaven may be likened to a person who planted good seed in their field.” Our world is like a seed, something destined to grow. Our world exists in time, and it is always changing, deteriorating, and developing. We are the soil, into which God plants the seeds that hopefully will grow.

I said to you at the start of this homily that this parable is not really about farming. The main point is actually about how much God loves us. And the point is, “that God loves the human race,” and somehow this point gets left out while we continue to grow in God’s grace. Out of love, God allows the “weeds” and the “wheat” to grow together, because God knows that the weeds will never overpower the wheat. We, the good and the bad, live together, work together, pray together, and turn to our God in times of trouble, together. Hopefully, this is the part where you would say that you don’t just love God, but you know that God loves you. In fact, I would say that you cannot really love God until you see, even for a moment, how much God loves you. If we want the rewards that come from loving God, then we must allow God to love us. Sometimes, being loved by someone is really difficult, sometimes it is a blessed relief. But the rewards of loving God, even learning to love God all the more, are vast.

There truly is nothing better in life than loving God, except maybe knowing God loves you. That is the joy life brings, when we see the hummingbird dart by, the flower blooming again and again, the butterfly flitting about, the stars in the sky, and your garden growing. I said that I grew up on and near farms when I was little. Well, let me tell you a secret: I am still little, still childlike. We all are. God is little, too, and God meets us in our littleness. God is also beyond our understanding yet has so many good things to show us. God died for us and is now alive and God wants us to grow in God’s love.

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