THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN THE ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A
(Readings: Wis 12:13, 16-19; Rom 8:26-27; Matt 13:24-43)
by Augustine Agwulonu, OP.
God’s kingdom dwells and rules in our hearts!
Today’s Sunday Gospel continues to present Jesus’ authoritative teaching in parables. Our Lord has been identified as the greatest Master of parables in history. He captures the idea of God’s kingdom with the imaginatively exciting and thought provoking parabolic form of speech. We read and reflected on the parable of the sower last Sunday. In today’s Gospel also, Jesus comparatively illustrates God’s kingdom with a cluster of three parables. Firstly, our Lord compares God’s kingdom to good seed that a man sowed in his farm. However, while people slept, the enemy went and sowed weeds all through the wheat and went off. Secondly, Jesus compares God’s kingdom to a mustard seed. This parabolic comparison reveals the astonishing biological wonder of a smallest seed that grows into the largest of plants. It even becomes a bush and its branches become the dwelling places for “the birds of the sky.” Thirdly, Jesus compares the kingdom of the heavens to yeast that leavens a measure of wheat flour.
We can observe that all these parables employ materials, elements, and ideas that are we can identify with in the socio-cultural environment. There are the ideas of the farmland and farming, the reality of growth and development, and the sureness of spread and expansion, which can be likened to God’s word in the Acts (6:7; 13:49). And so, these parables furnish us with the imagery of success, great achievement, and hope of full accomplishment of the Christian life’s promises.
Thus, God’s kingdom dwells and rules in our hearts.
Now, what and where is this kingdom that Jesus so beautifully illustrates? What and where is the field in which “a man sowed good seed” and “his enemy came and sowed weeds?” How can we explain the fact that “a mustard seed,” which Jesus describes as “the smallest of all the seeds,” grows to become “the largest of plants…, a large bush?” What is the yeast “mixed with three measures of wheat of flour” that leavens “the whole batch?” If one can answer these questions accurately then it means that one has understood the parables of our Lord, which the evangelist, Matthew, transmits to his audience.
And so, God’s kingdom dwells and rules in our hearts.
Let us now gather our thoughts together concerning the meaning of the parables of God’s kingdom in today’s Gospel.
God’s kingdom manifests itself as dynamic power of God’s divine presence. As the good seed of wheat, which a person sows in the field germinates, grows, and bear fruit, so God’s presence is active in the lives of believes in Jesus Christ. This moving power of divine presence makes believers resistant to evil inclinations. Furthermore, the power of God’s kingdom is at work in human beings and in the world. We must be aware that our Lord Jesus Christ cultivates the human heart and mind like the watered garden in order that God’s kingdom of justice can be sown in them like the good seed of the wheat. God’s kingdom dwells and rules in us.
- The kingdom of God implies the goodness, the righteousness, the love, the virtue, which grow in people and make them great children of God. This is the meaning of the parable of the mustard seed. It underscores growth and maturity in Christian life. The Christian way of life involves constant and continued growth in living the good life. The Christian vocation invites believers to strive for growth, for the development and maturity of the spiritual life. The Christian life abhors stagnation. This is the reason that Jesus calls our attention to the viability and prospect of God’s kingdom to blossom, to shine forth from glory to glory. Therefore, God’s kingdom dwells and rules in our hearts.
- The kingdom of God begins very small. However, it advances to become the home for all God’s children. We recall that our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us that if our faith is as small as the mustard seed, we could move mountains and nothing will be impossible for us (see Matt 17:20-21). God’s kingdom is a project of great hope, miraculous and wondrous outcome. Consequently, God’s kingdom dwells and rules in our hearts.
- God’s kingdom implies the Word of life, light, glory, joy, and peace. These permeate, circulate, and diffuse into the caveat of human hearts and souls. They rule in the minds of God’s children. This is the reason that God’s kingdom is not only visible manifest but also it resonates like the Eternal Word also resounds throughout all the earth. For this reason, we confess, the power of God’s kingdom dwells and rules in our hearts.
In conclusion, our Lord, the Master speaker in parables, reveals the dynamic nature, the growth and greatness, and the expansion of God’s kingdom. This represents the Lord effective imaginatively artistic method of teaching. He employs carefully chosen materials for purposes of comparison. These are the good seed of wheat, the mustard seed, and yeast. For this we praise the Lord because, God’s kingdom dwells and rules in our hearts!