16th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A

16th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Pulpit Plan

Theme : Can we be patient with one another?

1st Reading: Wisdom 12:13.16-19

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 86

2nd Reading:     Romans 8:26-27

Gospel :           Matthew 13:24-43

 

  • P G Woodhouse once remarked that there are 2 types of people in the world: the disgruntled and the gruntled!
  • Funny though this might be; it is unfortunately true!
  • Earlier this week, Bishop Robert Barron from the Word on Fire ministry, released a short video in which he expressed his concern with how Catholics engage one another, especially on social media platforms, like Twitter.
  • He spoke of his own experience of being personally attacked by Catholic Christians because they disagreed with his opinion.
  • I too have been subjected to personal attacks on social media – it is very unpleasant; especially when it comes from a total stranger!
  • The sad thing is that angry disagreements between Christians are not limited to social media!
    • They happen in our families and in our workplaces!
  • Of course, we are allowed to disagree with one another;
  • Of course, we are entitled to have different opinions – even with our bishops and popes!
    • But do we really need to launch brutal personal attacks on those we do not agree with!?
    • Do we need to question their faith, their spiritual life or judge them to be inferior Catholics?
      • all because we have a different take on something!
    • No Catholic Christian should resort to this sort of behaviour, because, as the Bishop pointed out:
      • It is sinful, and
      • It does nothing to attract non-Catholics, non-Christians to Jesus or the Church
        • – it serves only to break down our community and compromise our mission!
      • This reminds me of what St. Augustine once said: “there are people within the Church who are really outside the Church, and there are people outside the Church who are inside the Church.”
      • The author of the book of Wisdom understood this too!
        • He makes it clear that God is always great, always right, but he does not punish or bring down evil on people – he is gentle, understanding and compassionate with everyone!
          • God does not reserve his love only for the select few!
        • Yet, so often we put others down, forcing them to speak, think and behave like us, because we believe we are right and they are wrong!
          • We close ourselves off from different experiences that can enrich us!
        • A number of times on Facebook this week, I have seen posts from some who think, that because they prefer the more traditional way of celebrating Mass, that they are “real Catholics”; “true Catholics” and the rest of us are on a slippery slope to paganism and maybe even hell!
        • But God does not think like this!
          • He converts people to his ways, not by punishing or threatening but by being gentle and kind!
        • Paul understood this!
          • He believed that at the heart of prayer, is the realisation that God is Abba – Daddy!
          • A God who is much more a loving father or intimate friend than an exacting judge!
        • Yes, there is a lot of good in the world and in the Church but there is also a lot of evil!
        • Matthew was quite honest about it!
          • and he admits that it is very often hard to separate one from the other!
        • The parable of the weeds and the wheat, teach patience:
          • to those who are impatient and intolerant with others, especially the weak, lost, uncertain, searching or just different!
        • I really do think that we must be very careful of trying to separate the world into – us (who are right) and them (who are wrong)!
        • This is especially important in our time, where there is conflict and tension within the Church and within our society – conflict that is magnified by social media!
        • Like Matthew’s community, we must learn that the mixture of good and evil has been anticipated by God and that this mixture does not in any way jeopardize the ultimate triumph of the Kingdom!
        • Matthew warns us that there will be a judgment but that it is God’s judgment and ways!
          • I hope we can all agree on that?!
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