Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - A - July 23, 2017
Wheat and Weeds
The readings for this Sunday evoke many questions about God and the nature of human existence. To the point, they focus on the problem of evil in the world. Why does God allow evil to exist? Why do good people suffer? The Christian answer to these questions speak to God's mercy and the perseverance of the faithful.
FIRST READING How powerful is God? In the first reading from the book of Wisdom, the author mused over God's power. He is Almighty, and shows his power in his mercy. He is magnanimous with patience and forgiveness. Yet he is rebukes those who presume his mercy or confused mercy with weakness.
PSALM The author of Psalm 86 wrote a lament psalm, but inserted a remarkable set of lines that spoke to the unique place of God. YHWH was alone, over all the other gods. His power was a call for universal worship. This was the God the psalmist appealed to.
SECOND READING Before God's power and the mystery of life, we become speechless. Words fail us. Yet, our hearts still moan for something more, more insight, more blessing. In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul saw these groans as the work of the Spirit, who prayed within us, to address those needs we cannot express in words.
GOSPEL In Matthew's gospel, Jesus told the parable of the wheat and the weeds. This story addressed a problem: how can good exist with evil in the world? Jesus interpreted the story to explain why an all-powerful God would delay judgment and would allow the good to suffer. God did this for the greater good.
DAILY READINGS Readings for the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
CHILDREN'S READINGS In the story from the first reading, the normally nice Elaine let her anger get away from her. She found that, in the end, only one thing can truly cool anger: saying "I forgive you." In the story from the gospel, Johnny found strength to stand up to his older brother and forgive him.
FAMILY ACTIVITY Use the subject of weeding a garden to spark a family discussion over the goodness ("wheat") and evil ("weeds") in people.