Reflection for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Reflection for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Jul 24, 2023 | Reflections

In last Sunday’s Gospel we had the parable of the Sower and the Seeds. This Sunday there are three Kingdom parables. The parable of the wheat and the darnel teach us that evil will remain like darnel (weeds) alongside the wheat until the harvest, that is judgement. The darnel represents sinners. Wherever there are saints, there are sinners, who will make them suffer. God permits this opposition, in order for the good to grow in virtue, through the trials and persecutions caused by the darnel (sinners}.

Parable of the Wheat and Darnel

The first reading reminds us that the Lord sees beyond mere appearances and measures by our deeds, which are the proof of our love for God and neighbour.

In the second reading, St Paul teaches about the crucial role of the Holy Spirit } or Sanctifier, who helps us to become holy. The Holy Spirit inspires us and helps us to pray as we should and to avoid the seductions of the world.

The three parables in the Gospel teach us that holiness is often hidden in the eyes of the world, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, the good continue to grow in virtue despite the parasitical darnel or unrepentant sinners. The Church started in a small seemingly insignificant way, like a mustard seed, but under the action of the Spirit spread far and wide, putting our branches in each part of the world. God chose twelve simple uneducated men and because of their humility and faith was able to work through them in a powerful way to change the world

It reminds me of the story of Blessed Anne Garcia. While still young she became a disciple of St Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church, and foundress of the Discalced Carmelites Order.  Blessed Anne was one of St Teresa’s closest collaborators and friends and St Teresa died in her arms. Blessed Anne had come from a very poor shepherding family in sixteenth century Spain. As a Nun she was sent to Belgium and France to start Carmelite Convents and to be Prioress of some of them.  However, she would often complain to Our Lord that she was too ignorant and shy to be given such important responsibilities and that Jesus should choose someone more intelligent, better educated and more outgoing to do the work that she was being asked to do. For she had none of those gifts. But Jesus then appeared to her and said:

 It is with straw that I start my fires.

He didn’t comfort her by telling her how good she was,  but simply pointed out that He was the One who will do wonderful things through her, if she will let Him. We can see in the Scriptures that he chooses what the world counts as nothing in order to do great things. We just need to think of the Apostles who were uneducated men, but through whom, God did wonderful things.

Returning to the parable of the wheat and darnel. Darnel was often sown in wheat crops in Palestine by enemies. It was a noxious weed that resembled the wheat, until it matured. If it was harvested with the wheat, it would spoil the harvest and if people ate bread with darnel in it, they would become sick and could even die. The owner of the field is God who is patient and permits the darnel (unrepentant sinners) to remain with the wheat until the harvest (judgement).  God permits this so we can grow in virtue. So much evil in the world comes through the darnel. We could think of all the bad example, pornography, wars, Christian persecution etc. As Christians we must be vigilant and guard our senses against so much impurity and bad example in the world that comes to us especially through the media, which is controlled by the darnel. Be constant in prayer such as the Holy Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration, regular Confession and spiritual reading. Trials and adversity will always be there for those striving for holiness, but God uses this to purity us and help us to grow in merit and Christian maturity.

St Faustina said: in prayer I always find light and strength of spirit, although there are moments so trying and hurtful that it is sometimes difficult to imagine that these things can happen in a convent. Strangely, God allows them, but always in order to manifest or develop virtue in a soul. That is the reason for trials.

God however created souls that all may flourish and have life. He desires none to be lost. However, he relies on us to be leaven in society, through our good examples, prayers and sacrifices. In this way we can gain grace for sinners to change. Jesus told St Faustina that compared to his all-powerful love, all her sins and misery were like a little stick being thrown into a blazing furnace.  The mercy of God is immense!

We could think of some great conversions, such as St Mary Magdalene, Blessed Bartolo Longo who was a former Satanic Priest and then was converted, dedicated his life to the Rosary and the Blessed Virgin and is now a Blessed of the Church. Fr Don Calloway, who led a very sinful life as a young man, then changed and is now a holy Priest. These people who were darnel, were saved no doubt through the prayers of the wheat (subjects of the Kingdom).  Throughout the history of the Church there are countless examples like this. God wants us to pray for the conversion of the darnel (sinners).

Our Lady said at Fatima: many go to Hell every day because there is nobody praying and sacrificing for them.

 Let’s pray therefore every day for sinners, so that people can know true happiness and peace in this world and eternal blessedness in the next. Judgment will come at the end of time, when Angels will separate the wheat from the darnel. Hell is part of the doctrine of the Church. It exists! So, as true leaven in society let’s pray that sinners will convert and come to know inner peace and happiness in this life and receive eternal blessedness in the next! Praise be Jesus Christ, now and forever!