Good Fruit Bearing Seed, Saturday of the 16th Week of Ordinary Time (I), July 27, 2013

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
July 27, 2013
Ex 20:1-17; 24:3-8; Ps 50; Mt 13:24-30

This is a summary of what was preached on during a votive Mass of Mary, Pillar of Faith:

  • Jesus distinguishes between the wheat and the weeds in the Gospel. On Tuesday, he will tell us that the wheat are the children of the kingdom and the weeds the children of the evil one. Jesus wants to plant us as seeds of his kingdom, seeds that won’t remain seeds but that will grow and produce fruit, fruit that will contain the seeds for further growth of the kingdom. That’s the way the transmission of the Gospel works. Jesus Christ is the grain of wheat that has fallen to the ground and died so as to bear great fruit, and we’re called to be the seeds of that fruit in the midst of the world. 
  • The reason why the weeds and wheat couldn’t be separated was because in Palestine they are indistinguishable as they sprout out of the ground. It’s only later that one can tell the difference between them, but by this time the roots are so interconnected that it’s impossible to eradicate the weeds without destroying the wheat. That’s why we need to wait until the harvesting, which Jesus will tell us on Tuesday is the end of time. We learn from this that we can never tell while it’s early who are the wheat and who are the weeds. Often they’re indistinguishable. Some who seemed to be weeds, like St. Paul and St. Augustine, turned out to be among the most fruitful wheat of all time. Others who might seem to be wheat can turn out to be weeds.
  • That’s what we see in the first reading. (We read the readings from yesterday and today as one whole, which the Church allows us to do, since yesterday the first reading was taken from the proper of SS. Joachim and Anne). The Jews who said in response to the covenant that they would do all that the Lord had commanded almost immediately made the Golden Calf, as we’ll see on Monday. They passed from true worship to idolatry almost overnight, they passed from saying they’d do all the Lord commanded to breaking the first two commandments. We need to learn from their example and make sure that we’re bearing fruit of the Covenant made with God rather than the fruit of idolatry.
  • The blood ritual that Moses conducted is key for us to grasp. The blood rituals were meant to communicate a total commitment, a commitment until death, “the shedding of blood,” the entire blood of an animal. The Jews were committing themselves in a Covenant to keep their end of it, all that the Lord commanded. Most of them didn’t. Likewise, when Jesus made the new and eternal Covenant by shedding his blood, he gave us a commandment, to love one another as he has loved us, to love one another to the point of sacrificing ourselves totally for another. Have we been faithful to doing all that the Lord commanded in the Covenant we’ve entered into with him? Have we loved each other, even tried to love each other to that level?
  • One who did do all that the Lord commanded, who did love with the totality of her being, was the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose whole life developed in accordance with the Lord’s word. We turn to her on this Saturday as a Pillar of Faith asking her to intercede for us for the grace to bear the fruit of Jesus in our life as she bore Him from her Immaculate womb.

To listen to an audio recording of the homily, please click below: 

7.27.13 Homily

The readings preached on were:

Reading 1
EX 20:1-17; 24:3-8

In those days:
God delivered all these commandments:“I, the LORD, am your God,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.
You shall not have other gods besides me.
You shall not carve idols for yourselves
in the shape of anything in the sky above
or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth;
you shall not bow down before them or worship them.
For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God,
inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness
on the children of those who hate me,
down to the third and fourth generation;
but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation
on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.“You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain.
For the LORD will not leave unpunished
him who takes his name in vain.“Remember to keep holy the sabbath day.
Six days you may labor and do all your work,
but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God.
No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter,
or your male or female slave, or your beast,
or by the alien who lives with you.
In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth,
the sea and all that is in them;
but on the seventh day he rested.
That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother,
that you may have a long life in the land
which the LORD, your God, is giving you.

“You shall not kill.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,
nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass,
nor anything else that belongs to him.”

When Moses came to the people
and related all the words and ordinances of the LORD,
they all answered with one voice,
“We will do everything that the LORD has told us.”
Moses then wrote down all the words of the LORD and,
rising early the next day,
he erected at the foot of the mountain an altar
and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.
Then, having sent certain young men of the children of Israel
to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice young bulls
as peace offerings to the LORD,
Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls;
the other half he splashed on the altar.
Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people,
who answered, “All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do.”
Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying,
“This is the blood of the covenant
that the LORD has made with you
in accordance with all these words of his.”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 50:1B-2, 5-6, 14-15

R. (14a) Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
God the LORD has spoken and summoned the earth,
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth.
R. Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
“Gather my faithful ones before me,
those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
And the heavens proclaim his justice;
for God himself is the judge.
R. Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
“Offer to God praise as your sacrifice
and fulfill your vows to the Most High;
Then call upon me in time of distress;
I will rescue you, and you shall glorify me.”
R. Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.

Gospel
MT 13:24-30

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
“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.”’”