Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A (July 23, 2017): Three layers of evangelization.

Thứ Bảy, 22-07-2017 | 17:12:59

Today’s Readings:

Wisdom 12:13,16-19
Ps 86:5-6,9-10,15-16
Romans 8:26-27
Matthew 13:24-43

USCCB Podcast of the Readings:

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.

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.”

Good News Reflection: 

Go and Make Disciples: A National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization in the United States (published in 1992) names three important layers of evangelization: (1) Nurture your own faith-growth, (2) invite others to conversion, and (3) transform society through true Christian living. In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jesus teaches us these same three strategies, using parables.

(1) Nurture your own faith-growth: In the kingdom of God, we are like good wheat growing amidst weeds. This takes effort; the weeds will take over if we’re not working daily at growing in holiness. What have you been doing to prevent the weeds around you from taking over and strangling your holiness? How is your faith life benefiting from living in the midst of non-believers and evil? Your Father-Creator is empowering you to grow.

(2) Invite others to conversion: In the kingdom of God, we are like the tiniest of seeds that grow into a bush so large that others benefit from our growth. Who is benefiting from your faith? How is your spiritual growth inviting them into a closer relationship with Jesus? The Holy Spirit is empowering you to evangelize others if you’re willing to minister to them using what you’ve learned from your experiences.

(3) Transform society: In the kingdom of God, we are like yeast that helps the whole batch swell up and mature into the bread of life that nourishes others. What are you involved in, as a Christian, that improves the world? Is your faith making a difference in your workplace, your community, and your parish? During Mass, as you receive the nourishment of the Eucharist, you are empowered to become Eucharist for the world. Mass ends with Christ commissioning you, through the presider, to be the yeast of goodness that affects those around you.

Questions for Personal Reflection:
Maybe you never saw yourself as an “evangelist”, but you are! This is your calling as a baptized Christian. Which of the above three areas of evangelization are you most actively doing? Which needs more of your attention?

Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
Give an example from your own life (or from the life of someone you know or have heard about) that illustrates one of the three goals above. What about the other goals? Make sure that, in your discussion as a faith sharing group, examples are given for all three goals of evangelization.

Today’s Prayer:

Dear Lord, grant me the grace to be obedient to Your Word so that I may be the instrument of evangelization that You desire. Amen.

© 2017 by Terry A. Modica

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