- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

Homily for July 19, 2020

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wisdom 12: 13, 16-19, Romans 8: 26-27, Matthew 13: 24-30

Through Baptism, we have been conformed to Christ. By the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we have become sons and daughters of God in the Beloved Son. The eternal Word of God became a man like us in all things but sin. In his merciful love, he draws us to his sacred heart, sins, and all. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). The author of the Book of Genesis wrote that the creator of the universe “looked at all that he had made and saw that it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). The creator and Savior of mankind continues to take delight in us, warts, and all. This knowledge fills us with hope and enables us to be instruments of hope for a world distressed and groping in darkness.

The parable in today’s gospel passage is very realistic and easy to identify with. The message is one of encouragement for each of us. The story takes place in a field where the owner who scattered good grain discovered that an enemy scattered weed seeds in his field under the cover of night. In his cunning, the enemy planted an evil seed amid the good. This mixture of good and evil is easy to recognize in our lives. This knowledge need not discourage us because “the one who is in us is more powerful than the one who is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4). When we embrace our poverty and acknowledge our weakness, God can manifest His strength in our lives.

The words offered us today are words of encouragement. “The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness” (Rom. 8:26). The light of the Spirit shines in the darkness of the enemy, and the darkness cannot overcome it. In the anointing of the Spirit, we find the balm that can heal the sin-sick soul. The Spirit of God is the advocate who teaches us how to pray. The Spirit of God is a sanctifying spirit that recreates us in the image of the beloved Son. The Spirit of God is the comforter who silences our fears and anxieties. The Spirit of God is the giver of life who overcomes the powers of sin, death, and darkness. Let us listen with the ears of our hearts these assuring words taken from the Letter to the Romans. “If God is for us, who can be against us? Since he did not spare his own Son but gave him us for us all, will not he freely give us all things” (Rom. 8: 31-32).

Let us ponder the impatience of the outraged servants alongside the long-suffering patience of the landowner. The servants wanted a quick fix to the problem. Their plan was to go through the field and uproot all the weeds. Can you imagine the damage their misguided efforts would have caused? Unlike the impatient servants, God knows how to wait. With patient loving-kindness, our Lord and Master surveys the field of our life. God sees the weeds, but he also sees the sprouting of his implanted word and He wants to see it grow and thrive. God is very patient. He is the prodigal father, who waits with infinite longing for us to become all that we were meant to be. He patiently waits for us with outstretched arms. He is ready to welcome us to our heavenly homeland and to draw us close to his heart. He is always willing to forgive us if we go to him.