Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
In the Gospel reading today the apostle Matthew speaks of the “Kingdom of Heaven”, which could be mistakenly thought to refer to life in union with God in heaven. But, Jesus is actually speaking about the here and now. The ‘Kingdom of heaven’, or as Saint Mark puts it, the ‘Kingdom of God’, represents the kind of world that God desires to see realized among us here on earth. So, when we break open these scriptures for deeper understanding, we learn that St. Matthew intends for us to properly understand the words of Jesus to mean that God desires all the children of God to live according to the way, the truth and the life of Christ.
God, having created within us knowledge of and desire for God, made us with the deepest desire to live and move and have our being in God. Our ‘highest good’ then, is to reveal within ourselves Christ, who is himself the revelation of God. In this way, we bring the reign of God into the world. Individually we are members of and collectively, united in the reign and rule of God, we are the mystical ‘Body of Christ’ the Church, which manifests the Kingdom of God on earth. We pray for this in the Lord’s Prayer – “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth – as it is in heaven…” This can only come about in so far as we repent, believe and grow in that holiness that allows us to go and sin no more.
This is what it means to be the ‘wheat’ referred to in today’s Gospel. Yet, this becoming the bread which we touch in the Eucharist, isn’t easy and God isn’t unaware of our weakness. Today’s first reading reminds us that God sees everything, even though we try to hide our sins. But it also reminds us that God’s just judgement can be outpaced by God’s grace… because God gives us plenty of time to seek forgiveness and that gives us hope. Jesus affirms this message in the parable of the weeds among the wheat, as he speaks of the wisdom and love of God which will not destroy the weeds while they are growing, but patiently waits for the harvest. While waiting for the harvest, God offers transformation to the ‘weeds’ into ‘wheat’ (insofar as they are seen to represent human beings), so that all may come to love and serve God in this world and be with God in the next.
Our hope is made firm in believing what St. Paul reminds us of in the today’s second reading. That for the sincere disciple of Christ, that which is borne in the depths of each of our souls at the moment of conception, is aided by God’s grace and the presence of the Holy Spirit within us at the moment of our baptism. The Holy Spirit whose groaning within us is so powerful to transform us, it is inexpressible. The Spirit is the cause of our sanctification, from the sacraments we receive to the prayers we say, to the righteous lives we [can] lead. Such is how, together, we become a bountiful harvest.
Although the coming of the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’, as the reign of God, might not be a neat and tidy process, it is the ultimate realization of the deepest desires of all human beings, and the Church as the ‘Body of Christ’ is the instrument by which the invisible within us becomes the visible Kingdom on earth.
Peace doesn't just happen; it's made.
CampusPadre is a college ministry Priest Chaplain with 30 years experience in youth and young adult ministry, who strives to let the Holy Spirit lead and challenges students to seek holiness above all.