Reflection on 25th Sunday: 20th September 2020

Infinitely Generous Love

It’s safe to say that the message in today’s gospel reading would not be found in the Manifesto of any political party or the Mission Statement of any business enterprise. Nor would it be high on the list of our own tick list of ‘Ways to live the Golden Rule’. Too often fairness rather than love, acceptance, mercy, forgiveness, or generosity is the measure by which we act and judge another person or life circumstances.

In Jesus’ time Judaism had reached a legalistic state, and the mentality was prevalent that salvation could and must be earned. There were many commands which must be fulfilled, and people were divided into two classes, the righteous who were on the road to salvation by fulfilling the commands, and the unrighteous, outcasts despised by those who kept the law. It was this slot-machine conception of God that Jesus opposed by his emphasis on love, for in love there is no calculation of duties, rights and obligations. God’s ways are not our ways. His ways look beyond our productivity, our appearance, our dress, our race or ethnicity, our accomplishments, our failures.

In today’s parable we, too, are invited to enter into a process where our perception of God is continually being transformed. Parables are similar to poetry. A good poem doesn’t try to define an experience as much as it tries to give us the experience. A poem tries to awaken our own seeing, hearing and knowing; it doesn’t give us the answer so much as offers us a process through which we can know for ourselves. To sit with this parable is to sit in the presence of generous Love. James Finley uses the image of a pebble falling down an underwater cliff. “There are little protrusions along this cliff and every so often, the stone lands on one and pauses in its descent. In the movements of the water, it rolls off and it continues on and on.” This image of the stone constantly being dislodged by the movements of the water is an image of our inner journey in which our perception of God is constantly being dislodged until we experience the infinite generosity of Infinite Love.

Adapted from various sources including Fr Kieran O’Mahony, Fr Pat Rogers. Fr Richard Rohr

1st Reading: Isaiah 55:6-9

Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16

Jesus said to his disciples: “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the labourers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard.’

When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the labourers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.” When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage.
Now when the first came they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.” But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Reflection on 24th Sunday: 13th September 2020

70×7 = Infinity

In Scripture, numbers usually point beyond a numerical value to a symbolic significance. The number seven is one of the most significant in the Bible. Scholars say it denotes completeness or wholeness and 70×7 = Infinity. In today’s gospel reading Jesus is telling us that forgiveness is not a quantifiable event. It is a quality; a way of being, a way of living, a way of loving, a way of relating, a way of thinking and seeing. It is nothing less than the way of Christ. If we are to follow Christ then it must become our way as well. It is infinite compassion. There are no limits to his forgiveness.

C.S. Lewis writes, “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until there is something to forgive”. When we look at our lives we will find broken promises, hurt feelings, betrayals, harsh words, physical and emotional wounds. Beneath the pain, the wounds, the losses, and the memories lies the question of forgiveness. Forgiveness does not originate in us. It begins with God. We do not choose to forgive. We only choose to share the forgiveness we have already received. The merciless servant was tortured when he refused to forgive his fellow servant. An unforgiving spirit creates its own suffering. It builds up walls of bitterness and resentment and there is no escape until we come to forgive.

Jack Kornfield reminds us that “if your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” Forgiving others begins by “having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves.” ( Pema Chodron) Forgiveness also extends to reality itself: to forgive it for being so broken, a mixture of good and bad. We can only surrender to the mystery of that paradox by trustfully allowing God to lovingly hold together the opposites within us, within our neighbour and even our enemy, and within reality itself.

After being imprisoned in South Africa for 27 years for his protest of apartheid, Nelson Mandela said “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” Forgiveness creates space for new life.

Adapted from various sources inc Michael Marsh, Richard Rohr

Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35

Peter came and said to Jesus, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, is lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Reflection on 23rd Sunday: 6th September 2020

Forgiveness

“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” These words have appeared in the gospel 3 times in the past few Sundays.. Today, Jesus is not just addressing Peter, he is talking to all ‘his disciples’; he is talking to us. We have the power to bind one another up by our unforgiveness, gossip, criticism, negativity. We have the power to loose and release one another from those bonds by the mystery of forgiveness. Nothing new happens without forgiveness. Without forgiveness, we remain frozen in the past, frozen in our negative memories, frozen in anger. Unless we become people who let go of our past, let go of our hurts, we just keep repeating that past over and over again. Forgiveness is the only way to free ourselves from the entrapment of the past. Forgiveness is God’s job description: to unbind, to free us so that something new can happen.

We may initially wonder if forgiveness is being advocated in Jesus’ words at the beginning of this gospel reading where he says that if a person refuses to repent after a process that involved three different encounters calling for repentance, then he should be “treated like a pagan or tax collector”. What is our immediate understanding of these words? Many of us would say that it means that the offender must be put out from the community and be regarded as an outsider and we would justify our decision by saying that this drastic and final step was to be taken not in a spirit of revenge or vindictiveness but out of real concern for the wellbeing of the whole community. Let’s read that verse again. Jesus said, “Treat him like a pagan or tax collector.” How did Jesus treat pagans and tax collectors?………. Jesus showed them unending love and respect. He treated them with the dignity that was due to someone created in the image of God. When we speak and act with love, God will act through our words, our actions, our attitudes, our gestures. “Whenever two or three of you are gathered in the right spirit, there I am.” Forgiveness could almost be described as the very name of God.

Richard Rohr and an unknown source

Gospel: Matthew 18:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples, “If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

Reflection on 22nd Sunday: 30th August 2020

Our True Self

On our spiritual journey we often take 3 steps forward and two (or more!) steps backward. This is clearly illustrated in the character of St. Peter. In last week’s gospel Peter has an epiphany of who Jesus is: the Christ, the anointed one, the Divine Presence which pervades all creation. His profession of faith reveals a deep understanding of the Christ Mystery. When in today’s gospel Peter refuses to believe in Jesus’ predictions of his suffering and death, he shows that his way of thinking is no longer God’s way. Jesus then tells Peter that in order to fully participate in the Christ Mystery, we need to “lose our self to find our self.” Jesus said this very clearly in several different settings.

Many spiritual writers speak of the false self and the True Self. The false self is who we think we are but thinking doesn’t make it so. The false self dies and passes away. Yet it is the raw material through which we discover our True Self in God. And who we are in God is who we are. And who we are in God will live forever. Life is not a matter of creating a special name for ourselves, but of uncovering the name we have always had. Some form of suffering or death—psychological, spiritual, relational, or physical—is the only way we will loosen our ties to our false self and surrender ourselves to the process of transformation into our true self. We will then discover that the true self is who we already were all along, but we didn’t know it. We didn’t know how to live consciously out of that deep place of union. If we’re living from the true self, we’re going to live from connection and communion with God, with everyone, with everything.

Richard Rohr

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T.S. Eliot

Gospel: Matthew 16:21-27

The disciple of Jesus must also follow the way of suffering and self-renunciation

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you. ” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things. ” Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? “For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done.

Refection on 21st Sunday: 23rd August 2020

“Upon this rock I will build my church.”

Throughout the gospels Jesus teaches his disciples through his choice of metaphors and similes which speak to them – and us – more powerfully than doctrines and legislations. Today’s use of the image of the rock, reminds us of the expression ‘He/she is as solid as a rock’ which we use to describe someone’s strength of character, with the implication being that that person will be immovable in his/her adherence to principles and beliefs.

Yet, let’s reflect on the image of a rock, from the smallest pebble on the beach to the largest and most intricate of rock formations. Whatever its size, each rock has undergone many changes before it has become the rock we are holding or looking at. Elements such as pressure, physical and chemical changes, tectonic processes, temperature, weather conditions and water have shaped and transformed the rock before us. And they will continue to change if they remain open to the elements.

On the recent feast of Saints Peter and Paul we reflected on the same gospel story, and we saw that when Jesus said to Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church,” he was referring to Peter’s faith and his understanding of the Christ Mystery. Peter has a moment of awareness of who Jesus really is – the Christ, in whom all things have their being, the Centre from whom we live and it is on a life centred on this awareness that Jesus builds his church (i.e. ecclesia : assembly of people/ disciples)

“We all have some centre from which we live. People, things, and experiences tend to become our anchor point, the centre of our life. They give us our bearings and stability. They not only shape how we live but, more importantly, who we are becoming. Jesus is always inviting us to go deeper, to look within and discover who or what our life is centred on, and then to re-centre. The life of discipleship is one of continual re-centring. As the elements slowly form and shape rocks over time so does a lifetime of openness and surrender to all the circumstances of our lives gradually transform us into people who witness and testify to God’s life, love, and presence in our lives and the world.”

Michael Marsh

Reflection on The Assumption: 15th August 2020

Blessed Believing

What if we really believed God is uniquely present and active in the circumstances of each of our lives, speaking a word? What if we truly believed there would be a fulfilment of the word spoken? What if instead of allowing our circumstances to determine what we believe, we allowed our believing to reinterpret the circumstances?

That would be blessed believing, Elizabeth and Mary type of believing, the kind of believing that gives birth to new life. That believing is at the heart of today’s gospel reading. Two pregnant women, neither of whom, according to their circumstances, should be or could be pregnant. One is too old. One is too young. One is barren. One is a virgin. Yet, both are pregnant.

Neither Elizabeth nor Mary allowed the circumstances of their lives to define who they were or limit who they might become. Believing for them is not so much about what they see but how they see. Each one believed she was more than the circumstances of her life. Elizabeth believed she was more than just a barren, childless, old woman. Mary believed that God loved her in her nothingness, in her littleness. Mary found favour with God. In Greek, ‘favoured’ means undeserved love, unmerited, totally free from the giver’s side. Mary doesn’t argue about her worthiness. She simply accepts that God can do what God can do.

Both woman saw, hidden within their particular situation, a deeper meaning and a new life. They believed through the circumstances of their lives. Each one trusted that the God of the impossible was somehow in the circumstances reshaping, transforming, and fulfilling her very existence. God was at work within these two women changing them, not their circumstances. So it is for each one of us.

”Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

Michael Marsh

GOSPEL Luke 1:39-56

Mary set out and travelled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour
for he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”
Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months
and then returned to her home.

Reflection on 19th Sunday: 9th August 2020

“It is I. Do not be afraid.”

More often than not we cry out to be rescued from the circumstances of which we are afraid. We want to escape the storm. We want to be picked up and set down somewhere else, somewhere that is safe, calm, and comfortable. Jesus didn’t do that for the disciples and he doesn’t do that for us. Instead, Jesus reveals himself in the very midst of the storm itself. Where else would he be, this one we call Emmanuel, God with us?

Jesus uses the ‘crossing the lake’ experience to show that the disciples are being invited to cross to a new level of faith, a new level of consciousness and to cross boundaries of understanding. He is always teaching them, journeying with them and using the real experiences of life to deepen their awareness of who he is and who they are. The very elements that threatened to destroy the disciples became the environment in which they recognise Jesus as the Son of God. What they first perceived as certain death they now recognise as new life and hope.

It makes no sense to think that the very elements that threaten our lives are the same elements from which new life comes. Almost everyone on our planet is finding it difficult to recognise God in the midst of so much suffering, uncertainty and fear for the future. It is when we hear Jesus’ words, “It is I. Do not be afraid,” and we respond to his invitation to “Come,” we will experience our sharing in his life, his energy. We will be able to walk through any storm knowing that “God is a presence that spares us from nothing, but unexplainably sustains us in all things.”

James Finley

We will often drown in our attempts to understand our painful circumstances or search for ‘quick-fix’ solutions. The secret is to trust in God who leads us to the edge of our own resources and we then surrender to the Absolute Source of perfect Love and infinite Life. When we surrender, we begin to discover an enormous space outside of our narrow experiences and plans. We discover the expansiveness and spaciousness of God, and of life, and it becomes possible to find peace in the midst of chaos.

Various sources: Sharon Grussendorff, Michael Marsh, Richard Rohr.

Gospel: Matthew 14:23-33

Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.
Immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid. ” Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water. ” He said, “Come. ” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Reflection on 18th Sunday: 2nd August 2020

Abundance

The story of the feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle that appears in all four Gospels. In Matthew and Mark there are additional accounts of feeding 4000 people. In all accounts, the disciples query how the crowds could be fed with the small amount of food provided. In some accounts, as in today’s gospel, the disciples wanted to send the people away to take care of their own food.

In the Gospel stories of ‘multiplication’ Jesus’ response is not only an act of compassion but it is primarily a revelation of the nature of divine compassion. He wants to create a new understanding of ‘enoughness’, of more than ‘enoughness’- as we see in the twelve baskets left over. The human mind is actually incapable of imagining anything infinite or eternal. So it cannot conceive an infinite love or a God whose mercy and compassion is everlasting. Every multiplication story emphasises abundance, that there is always much left over. It is a major mental and heart conversion to move from a scarcity model to an abundance model and to live with an attitude of gratitude. Our little tiny lives are connected with something bigger, something that matters, something eternal. Suddenly our ordinary lives have a transcendent and universal meaning. Whether we realise it or not, that is the hunger and thirst within each one of us.

Richard Rohr

Like the disciples, we count what is there though we too often focus on what is not there. And pretty soon the reality of our circumstances blinds us to the possibilities of what might be. Our vision becomes narrow and the world small. We see through the lens of scarcity or lack and not through the lens of abundance. The problem is not a lack of fish and bread but a lack of vision. We see things not as they are, but as we are. The abundance of God’s loving presence is hidden in plain view and often within the illusion of scarcity. Abundance is less a resource to be counted and more an interior quality, a presence, a way of being and seeing.

Michael Marsh 

Gospel Matthew 14:13-21

When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.

When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” Then he said, “Bring them here to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass.

Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over — twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.

Reflection on 17th Sunday: 26th July 2020

Hidden Treasure

“Our vocation is to appreciate ourselves as the pearl of great price. We get to discover ourselves as the treasure in the field and to rejoice with God in the wondrous work that God does in each of our lives. I will never exhaust the mystery that is me. So, the good news is I can never figure myself out. I can always surprise myself.” [1] There is a story of 2 brothers who each asked for the gift of a horse for their birthday. When the day arrived, they ran outside – and found two large piles of manure! One brother walked away in disgust; the other started digging excitedly into the manure shouting, “There has to be a horse in here somewhere!” How do we see ourselves?

‘My highest ambition is to be who I already am- hidden with Christ in God from before the origins of the universe.’ [2] Our True Self is who we objectively are from the beginning, in the mind and heart of God, “the face we had before we were born,” as the Zen masters say. It is our substantial self, our absolute identity, which can never be gained nor lost by any technique, group affiliation, morality, or formula whatsoever. The surrendering of our false self, ( selling all that we have) which we have usually taken for our absolute identity, yet is merely a relative identity, is the necessary suffering needed to find “the pearl of great price” that is always hidden inside this lovely but passing shell. We are afraid to believe in our own greatness. We are afraid of the unknown. Or perhaps it is more true to say that we are afraid of losing the known. [3]

The psychologist Rollo May believes that the neurosis of our age is that we’re afraid to be all that we are. That is, we’re afraid to accept the full potential of who we are and what we’re called to be, because if we accept it, we just might have to stand up and bear witness to it. But the price paid for the half-lived life is bitter. [4]

[1] Mary Beth Ingham, [2] Thomas Merton, [3] Richard Rohr, [4] James Finley

The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to reveal to us the truth of our being so that the way of our being can match it.

Wm. Paul Young

Matthew 13:44-52

‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’

Reflection on 16th Sunday: 19th July 2020

“Let them grow together.”

“Can true humility and compassion exist in our words and in our eyes unless we know we too are capable of any act? “

St. Francis of Assisi

The words that are translated as “let them” in Jesus’ statement, “Let them grow together” can also be translated as forgive them. It’s the same words Jesus spoke from the cross in St. Luke when he says, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34). Forgive the weeds? Love the weeds? The gospel is always a challenge. So, yes, forgive them. Love them. Maybe that’s how the wheat begins to disentangle its roots from the weeds.  [2]

It takes uncommon humility to carry both the dark and the light side of things. The only true perfection available to humans is the honest acceptance of our imperfection. This is precisely what Divine Perfection can help us do; only God in us can love imperfect and broken things. Learning how to love—which is our life’s project—is quite simply learning to accept our messy reality. If you love anyone, then you have learned to accept them despite their faults. You see a few things you’d like to change in your partner, your children, yourself. By the Largeness of God within you, you are able to trust that the good is deeper than the bad, and usually well hidden. This is probably why so many of Jesus’ parables are about hiddenness, seeking, and finding. [1]

[1] Richard Rohr     [2]  Michael Marsh

“Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.” 

Megan Devine

“In befriending life, we do not make things happen according to our own design.
We uncover something that is already happening in us and around us and
create conditions that enable it.”

Rachel Naomi Remen

Gospel: Matthew 13:24-43

Jesus put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.” Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!