(From the Bulletin of Sts. Joachim and Ann Catholic Church, July 23, 2017)
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - A
The Gospel today is all about the growth of the Kingdom.
We know that Jesus was the Master story-teller. He often used a form called a "parable," in which a truth is compared to something very familiar. Today, Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is "like a man who sowed good seed," or "like a mustard seed," or "like yeast." See how tiny and apparently insignificant the three examples that Jesus uses are! Then, something creative and powerful happens! The good seed has grown into a field of rich, golden grain, the little mustard seed has developed into such a large and bushy tree that the birds come and dwell in its branches, and the tiny bit of yeast has caused the dough to ferment and expand into delicious, fragrant bread!
The first parable is the most developed, for there is an element of high drama here. An enemy (the devil) comes at night to sow weeds in with the grain. The farmer's helpers (Jesus' disciples) are dismayed, and are all set to pull out the weeds, until the farmer (God) wisely stops them, warning them to patiently wait until harvest time Qudgment day) to separate weeds from the wheat.
There are many lessons for us today. First, how do we know the difference between a plant and a weed? We mustn't be too quick to make judgments! Some weeds are delicious and useful, like dill weed and dandelions. Especially when it comes to people, it's best to let God decide! Our job is to carefully cultivate the wheat.
St. Augustine tells us that we must love everyone—not just those who are the faithful members of the Church. To those who say, "We are your enemies," we are to say, "No, you are brothers and sisters of ours, not our enemies." Why? Because by our love and patience, we may bring about a change of heart and mind in those who, at present, work evil!
Our Holy Father, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in his encyclical "Saved by Hope," tells us that Christians are certain that, whatever happens in our lives, we will one day experience a favorable outcome. "Only when the future is certain as a positive reality, does it become possible to live the present as well." Hope makes it all possible to live patiently with the weeds in the midst of the wheat! God will take care of the rest.
Fr. Louis Kemayou, Pastor
Novena to Saints Joachim and Ann
Saints Joachim and Ann, grandparents of Jesus and parents of Mary, we seek your intercession. We beg you to direct all our actions to the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls. Strengthen us when we are tempted, console us during our trials, help us when we are in need, be with us in life and in death. 0 divine Savior, we thank you for having chosen Saints Joachim and Ann to be parents of our Blessed Mother Mary and so to be your own beloved grandparents. We place ourselves under their patronage this day. We recommend to them our families, our children, and our grandchildren. Keep them from all spiritual and physical harm. Grant that they may ever grow in greater love of God and others. Saint Joachim and Ann, we have many great needs. We beg you to intercede for us before the throne of your divine Grandson. All of us here have our own special intentions, our own special needs, and we pray that through your intercession, our prayers may be granted. Amen. (Mention your request here).
PRAYER TO ST. MICHAELSaint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, 0 Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.