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Sunday, July 23, 2017, Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

God’s Circle of Justice

First Reading Commentary Wisdom 12:13, 16-19

Today’s reading from the Book of Wisdom is a testimonial to who God is and what God does for us. There is but one God who cares for all of us. He gave us life and everything that we need to sustain our lives. God made us superior to all other living things by giving us a free will. It is with that free will that we are able to think, determine right from wrong and good from evil. And because we make mistakes, God gave us Himself by sending the Son to save us and shepherd us. No wonder, that without God, we have nothing and we are nothing.

God will also judge us with justice on the last day. Wisdom tells us that the source of God’s justice is His might and that His mastery over all things makes Him lenient to all. In other words, God has the power to judge as He so pleases and it pleases God to be just and lenient. He does not have to be just or lenient but God chooses to be. There can only be one reason why and that reason is because God loves us.

But God’s caring for us and justice towards us does not mean that we should take God for granted because God will show His might to those who do not believe in Him and to those who do believe but recklessly disobey Him. This is a powerful message. It means that we have only two choices and God allows us to pick whichever one we wish.

The choices are heaven or hell. If one does not believe in God, that person does not know God and God will not know them on the last day. Likewise, if one disobeys God refusing to repent, God will bring His wrath upon them. Both of these people are destined to go to hell. But clemency will be granted to those who believe and heaven awaits them.

Wisdom also tells us that those who are just must be kind. Jesus said the same thing when He gave us the Second Greatest Commandment: You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself. One cannot get to heaven without obeying this commandment because without obeying it; it is impossible to obey the First Greatest Commandment: Love God with all that you have; mind, body and soul. And, if one does not love God, they will not obey any of the other commandments.

Give praise and glory because God gives us hope by permitting us to repent for our sins. That completes the circle taking us back to the beginning. God cares for us and judges us with justice granting clemency because He loves us.

The Awesome Intercessor

Second Reading Commentary Romans 8:26-27

In his letter to the Romans, Paul tells us why the Holy Spirit is the Advocate—our awesome intercessor. It is the Holy Spirit who is always there working inside of our consciences as He helps us when we are weak. The Spirit also presents His gifts and fruits to us which give us the tools we need to overcome evil.

Even so, we all fall into sin from time to time and Paul tells us that one of the reasons why we struggle is because we do not know how to pray as we should. Many of us do not pray as often as we should or we do not allow ourselves enough time when we do pray. Sometimes we are selfish when we pray as we ask or tell God to do something or give us something without taking the time to give praise, glory and honor. Sometimes we pray for things that will satisfy our human desires forgetting God’s Will which is for us to achieve salvation so that we can be with Him in heaven.

Often times, we find our minds going in different directions which causes us not to concentrate while we pray. This is usually the devil attacking us in an effort to keep us from praying. We have to be aware of the devil’s attack because when we are, we are given the strength to keep on praying and the devil has no power over us. But when we are unaware or worse yet, allow our minds drift toward the distraction, the devil wins.

When we stop to think about the flaws in the way that we pray, it is hard to not ask ourselves, “Why do I do this? How can I pray without giving God His praise and glory? How can I pray forgetting God’s Will for my salvation? Don’t I want to be saved?” And yet, we all make these mistakes from time to time.

But blessed are we because the Spirit knows what is deep inside of us and advocates for us just the same. When we do give praise and glory to God, we usually give it to the Father and/or the Son. We remember how God has given Himself to us through the Son but we don’t often stop to think about how God has given Himself to us through the Spirit. We don’t always give the Holy Spirit His praise and glory for always being there to give us help and advocate on our behalf.

Paul says, “And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s Will.” In other words, as the Son searches our hearts, the Spirit intercedes for us according to the Father’s Will. Think about that. God is our Creator, our Savior and our Advocate who also intercedes for us. Our God is truly and Awesome God!

Watch Out for Weeds

Gospel Commentary Matthew 13:24-43

Today’s gospel is all about good and evil coexisting together until the final judgment on the last day. In this parable, a man sows good seeds in his field but an enemy comes along and sows weeds in the field so that the weeds grow together with the good seed. When the slaves asked the master if they should pull the weeds, he answered, “An enemy has done this…Let them grow together until harvest; then I will say to the harvesters, ‘First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

The obvious question is; why would the master allow the weeds to grow among the good seed. It seems counter-productive because the weeds will choke some of the good seed and much of the crop could be destroyed. But the master in this parable understands that if he has the weeds pulled up, some of the good crop will be pulled up with them. He cares enough about his crop to not want any good seed which is able to survive to be pulled up. So, he chooses to let the weeds and the good seed to grow together.

The message here is that we are the seed that has been sown by God. The weeds are the temptations which are placed all around us through others and from the evil one who is the enemy. Think about that. Not everyone who puts temptations in front of us is a bad person. But we must remember that just as God uses bad people to bring about good which usually results in that person experiencing a conversion in life, so too, the devil will use good people to bring about evil in an effort to convert that person to his evil ways as well as causing us to sin.

God loves us so much that He will not do anything that might hurt our chances to survive. Instead of pulling up the weeds sown by the evil one, God would rather give us the opportunity to repent. This decision by God proves that He will not do anything to make it impossible for us to be with Him and that He wants us to come to Him by choice—not because we are forced.

The weeds of the devil may appear through other people who try to lead us into sin. However, as I have said many times before, when the temptation comes to us, we must remember that the devil can take a bag of (blank, blank) and make it look so good and irresistible that we just have to have it. This has been the case since the beginning with Adam and Eve. Remember that the devil convinced Eve that the fruit was good. Too many people today don’t take time to notice what is in that bag; before they take it out and use it.

Peer pressure is a powerful thing and all of us have fallen victim to a temptation presented to us by another person to sin. But there is consolation. Repentance is much more powerful than any temptation or any sin and woe to the weed of temptation. Jesus says that the weeds are the children of the devil and will be thrown into the fiery furnace. Keep that in mind before you tell someone to do something that you know is wrong.

There is a connection between Matthew 13:30 and Revelations 14:14-20 where the Son of Man sits on a cloud with a cycle in hand. An angel cries out in a loud voice and says to the Son of Man, “Use your sickle and reap the harvest…the earth’s harvest is fully ripe.” The Son of Man swings His cycle, the earth is harvested and the clusters from the vine are thrown into the wine press of God’s fury.

Jesus proposed two more parables. In the first, He said, “The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed…It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants…and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.” Jesus is telling us that the Kingdom starts with something very small but will become larger than anything else and the faithful ones who will enter the Kingdom are like the birds of the sky that will dwell in the Kingdom.

In the second parable, Jesus said, “The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” This would make enough leavened bread to feed one hundred people. It is hard to imagine anyone making that much bread at one time unless they are preparing a meal for a large group of people. But giving in abundance has always been God’s way and Jesus demonstrated that many times in His works.

In this parable, Jesus was making the point that the greatness of the Kingdom is more enormous than we can imagine. Jesus is telling us that we are the yeast and there is nothing that the devil can do to stop us from reaching the Kingdom of Heaven unless we choose to follow the devil. Jesus is also telling us that because He wants all of us to be with Him; He is preparing His Kingdom for all of us.

Matthew tells us that Jesus spoke in parables to fulfill what had been said through the prophet, “I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.” This actually comes from Psalm 78 which is about the new beginning of Zion. Matthew considers this as a prophecy and indeed, Christ did come to make a new beginning making the Word available to all nations and making the New Covenant which is the promise of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Reading 1         Wisdom 12:13, 16-19

There is no god besides you who have the care of all, that you need show you have not unjustly condemned.
For your might is the source of justice; your mastery over all things makes you lenient to all.
For you show your might when the perfection of your power is disbelieved; and in those who know you, you rebuke temerity.
But though you are master of might, you judge with clemency, and with much lenience you govern us; for power, whenever you will, attends you.
And you taught your people, by these deeds, that those who are just must be kind; and you gave your children good ground for hope that you would permit repentance for their sins.

Responsorial Psalm          Psalm 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16

R/ (5a) Lord, you are good and forgiving.
You, O LORD, are good and forgiving, abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.
Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer and attend to the sound of my pleading.
R/ Lord, you are good and forgiving.

All the nations you have made shall come and worship you, O LORD, and glorify your name.
For you are great, and you do wondrous deeds; you alone are God.
R/ Lord, you are good and forgiving.

You, O LORD, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and fidelity.
Turn toward me, and have pity on me; give your strength to your servant.
R/ Lord, you are good and forgiving.

Reading 2          Romans 8:26-27

Brothers and sisters: The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.

Gospel          Matthew 13:24-43

Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.
The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them.
Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

He proposed another parable to them.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’”

He spoke to them another parable.
“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.”

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He spoke to them only in parables, to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:
      I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.

Then, dismissing the crowds, he went into the house.
His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as 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 who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

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The Descent of the Holy Spirit
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Paragraph 767 "When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church."174 Then "the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun."175 As the "convocation" of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.176

The Holy Spirit came to Mary and the Apostles as tongues of fire.

Saint of the Day

Saint Bridget of Sweden
(c. 13037/23/1373)
Patron Saint of: Europe

God is just and grants clemency to the holy ones permitting repentance for their sins.

God is our Creator, our Savior and in the person of the Holy Spirit, God is our Advocate who also intercedes for us. Our God is truly and Awesome God!


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

God does not pull up the weeds because He does not want to pull up any of His crop with the weeds. God gives all of His crop a chance to survive and that is why He watches over us and permits repentance.

When the harvest of the earth is ripe, the Son of Man will take His cycle and gather His good crop into His barn (Heaven) and send the weeds sown by the evil one to hell.

Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard see...It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants."

Saints of the Week

Saint Sharbel Makhluf
(5/8/1828 – 12/24/1898 )

Saint James the Apostle
(d. 44)
Patron Saint of: Chile, Laborers, Nicaragua, Rheumatism & Spain

Saints Joachim and Anne
(b. 1st century)
Saints Joachim and Anne are the Patron Saints of: Grandparents
Saint Anne is the
Patron Saint of
: Mothers & Women in Labor

Blessed Antonio Lucci
(8/2/1682 – 7/25/1752)

Saint Leopold Mandic
(5/12/1866 – 7/30/1942)

Saint Martha
(b. 1st century)
Patron Saint of: Cooks, Housewives, Servants, Waiters and Waitresses

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