Be doers of the word and not hearers only. - Letter of James 1:22

Browsing Fr. Innocent Homilies

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time July 19, 2020

                           Homily of the 16th Sunday of Ordinary time July 19, 2020

                                                      By Fr. Innocent Mbaegbu.

Reflecting through the readings and the Gospel account of today, we have a common theme running through them all. And that is the theme of “Wisdom”. And we do have a lot of lessons to learn from it. You know what they say: “Knowledge is knowing what to say. And wisdom is knowing when to say it.”

To start with, we look into the message of the first reading from the book of Wisdom. 12:13, 16-19. This passage explains how God treats us, his children. When the voice of God speaks to us it comes with courage. That is why God’s words are not for us to edit and mess with, but to simply believe and obey.  God’s words bring peace and assurance to our hearts.  

As we continue to navigate our lives through this troubled world, value what you have and who you are, knowing that God didn’t create you exclusively to receive and experience problems in this life. God always applies wisdom as he treats us. Just as St. James writes in his letter; James 3:17, “Wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Therefore, I tell you again, let wisdom be your guide.”

In the second reading, St. Paul makes us understand that the Holy Spirit is always there to help us in our weakness. And God has not and does not abandon us at any time. The Holy Spirit is always at our aid and knows what we really want even before we could formulate our demands in our thoughts, and even help us to formulate them according to the will of God. Therefore, wisdom demands that we should always listen to the Holy Spirit.

In the Gospel, we see Jesus use parables to teach his audience important lessons about the Kingdom of Heaven. These parables seem very simple to understand and interpret, maybe, because we can easily place the parables in the right context with our life experiences; However, what matters here is that we should try to understand the message Jesus intends to give us through these parables.

Reading through the parables Jesus proposed to his audience, you will see that you need wisdom to understand them.  What can the malicious weed-sowing, or a mustard seed sowed in a field and or yeast mixed with three measures of wheat flour teach us about the Kingdom of Heaven?

The first and second parables Jesus proposed teaches us about patience, among other things. The master or the owner of the farm or field would not be in a hurry to pull up the weeds or else, he up-roots the wheat along with the weeds; he has to exercise patience for the right time to separate the weeds from the wheat. 

This is wisdom at work. In the same way, God is not in a haste to judge and condemn us. God is always patient with us. He gives us time to repent from our sinfulness. If God is patient with us, we too must be patient with one another. You know the golden rule is a moral principle which demands that you treat others the same way you would like to be treated yourself.  Husbands and wives, neighbors, family members, siblings, fellow parishioners, business partners, co-workers, fellow motorists, take note.

In the second parable, Jesus used the mustard seed sowed in the field to explain how God is accommodating. When that seed was planted, it was the smallest seed of all seeds but when it germinated it grew into the largest of plant providing shelter for the birds. It turned out to be a source of security, joy and peace for birds. If an ordinary mustard seed could provide such comfort for the birds, how much more the Kingdom of God for us. God is good all the time.

In the third parable Jesus uses the yeast added to ordinary wheat flour to explain God’s kingdom to his audience. How can we understand this explanation?  Just like the yeast was a powerful agent to transform the lump of dough into a wholesome bread for people to eat, in the same way God uses his word in the Holy Spirit to transform our lives into good and Godfearing people. God’s word is a powerful agent of transformation in the lives of His children.

In summary, what is there for us to take home today and grow in our spiritual lives? (1) Jesus teaches us that God is patient with us. (2) On the day of judgement everyone will reap what he or she sowed in this life. (3) God in his patience allows us the opportunity to change and repent from our wrongdoings and do good and be saved. (4) Allow wisdom to be your guide at all times.

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