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  • Rev. Lawrence E. Polansky

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

"Let them grow together until harvest ..."

Entrance Antiphon: Ps 54(53):6-8 — “See, I have God for my help. The Lord sustains my soul. I will sacrifice to You with a willing heart, and praise Your name, O Lord, for it is good.”

First Reading: Wis 12:13, 16-19 — “You give repentance for sins.”

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16 — “Lord, You are good and forgiving.”

Second Reading: Rom 8:26-27 — “The Spirit intercedes with inexpressible groanings.”

Alleluia: Mt 11:25 — “Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; You have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom. Alleluia, alleluia.”

Gospel: Mt 13:24-43 — “Let them grow together until harvest.”

Communion Antiphon: Ps 111(110):4-5 — “The Lord, the gracious, the merciful, has made a memorial of His wonders; He give food to those who fear Him.”


Many people probably think that teaching others the Good News is the work of the Clergy and those consecrated to religious life (nuns or monks or religious brothers) ... or it’s the work of theologians and biblical scholars ... but in today’s Gospel, Jesus uses easily recognizable symbols of weeds and wheat, mustard seeds, and yeast to teach His followers about the kingdom of heaven. So think about it ... Who are the best teachers you ever had? What tools did they use in their teaching?


A cup of coffee, a visit to a nursing home, a phone call to a friend, a round of golf, a playdate, a neighborhood picnic – any and all these are opportunities to share the Good News of the kingdom of heaven. Every day, this Good News is shared through acts of thoughtfulness, the gift of time – maybe around the kitchen table and in many other ways and places ... especially in our current COVID-19 reality. Jesus had many followers, and He knew them. He knew what symbols and stories would speak to their experiences and what would be hard for them to comprehend. Who are your followers? Who are the ones who watch and listen to you at home, at work, at school, on your team, and in your neighborhood? Who are those in other parts of the world who look to you for prayer, support, and encouragement?


Like our Lord, choose and use the tools that will speak to them. Jesus, the master teacher, was a wonderful storyteller. His parables caught people’s attention because His stories highlighted things that were part of their everyday lives. The best teachers know what will catch their students’ attention: a favorite song or online game ... a sports legend or movie hero ... a Dunkin’ Donuts’ or Starbuck’s coffee ... the news of the day ... a beautiful patchwork quilt or something knitted or crocheted ... a new set of golf clubs ... or a shared interest in gardening. God has given each of us, from the youngest to the oldest, gifts and talents to use in sharing the Good News.


Proclaim the kingdom of heaven by the example of our lives ... by what we say, by what we do, and by how we act. Today’s First Reading speaks of a God who is just, lenient, merciful, and kind. It describes a God who gives hope to His children. Ask yourselves this: Are we extending these gifts to others ... family, friends, associates ... to our “followers?” Do we offer mercy and understanding instead of cynicism, snarky comments, and retaliation? Do we offer kindness instead of hardheartedness? Leniency instead of revenge? Justice instead of injustice? Hope instead of gloom? When we do, we point the way to the kingdom of heaven.


With all that being said, consider a statement attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi. “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” We live in a world that includes the good and the bad, the easy and the difficult, the sinners and the saints. Our call is to remain true to who we are as daughters and sons of God ... signs of Christ to the world ... and bearers of the Good News of Jesus Christ to all whom we meet. In the Eucharist we are about to celebrate, Jesus, the master teacher, gave us the gift of His Body and Blood that we might know the fullness of God’s mercy and love ... we need to share that gift both within these walls and out there where we live. And when we do that to the best of our ability, we can be sure that we will be sharing all of it and more one day in the great banquet in the kingdom of heaven.

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