Sunday, July 20, 2014

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2014

Last Thursday we heard the horrific news that a Malaysian Jetliner was shot out of the sky over Ukraine – a criminal act possibly perpetrated by Russian backed separatists. 298 men, women, children, infants died immediately. Around 100 passengers were researchers, those who work for the common good, trying to eradicate the HIV/AIDS virus in third world nations. Pope Francis raised his prayers to the numerous victims of the incident and for their loved ones, renewing to the parties in conflict his heartfelt appeal for peace and commitment to finding solutions with dialogue in order to prevent further loss of innocent human lives.

I have to say that it is just beyond my thinking, and my own naivety, to think – what kind of heart does one have - to randomly kill so many innocent people. But then I look at the sin of abortion in our own United States. Since the Row vs. Wade decision in 1973, nearly 56 million unborn children have been killed. That is a whole generation.

You may have seen the video recently, of Hamas terrorists exiting a tunnel in Israel, carrying all sorts of deadly weapons - being within two miles of an Israeli community. Their intention was to wreak murder and mayhem upon the Israelis. The Israelis put a stop to them in short order with a missile. Now Israel and Hamas are at war again, both causing death and destruction to the innocent on both sides.
John Paul II said; “The human heart has depths from which schemes of unheard-of ferocity sometimes emerge, capable of destroying in a moment the normal daily life of a people. But faith comes to our aid at these times when words seem to fail.” General Audience Wednesday 12 September 2001

Jesus comes to our aid today in three parables, parables that concern the mysteries of the Kingdom. God allows his Kingdom to exist alongside evil; God chooses to have his Kingdom grow from small beginnings, God wants us to embrace the enemy in a confrontation of love and conversion.

There was a sower who sowed only good seed in his field, but when no one was looking, during the darkness of night, an enemy sowed weeds amidst the good wheat. Once the sower found out, instead of pulling out the weeds, he decided to let the weeds and the wheat grow together, only to be separated at harvest time. God allows the good and the bad, the peacemaker and the terrorist, to live side by side. Why?  Mysterious is God’s plan. The Lord says in the Book of Isaiah “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” So where does that leave us? Two things. 1. God is patient, slow to anger; he waits for - and desires the change of our hearts, for His light shines on the good and the bad. 2. Our Lord calls us to the virtue of Temperance, a virtue of restraint, lest, in the indiscriminate destruction of the wicked, the good also will suffer, consequences we have witnessed in the indiscriminate use of weapons of mass destruction.

Jesus speaks of the Mustard seed, the smallest of seeds, that, when planted, grows to be one of the largest plants, offering security to the birds of the sky. God wants his Kingdom to grow from humble beginnings – with souls who are unguarded, open as a child is, to receive His word - and let it grow in hearts over time. Jesus own earthly ministry began with no followers. Walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two fishermen, Peter and his brother Andrew, casting their nets. "Come, follow me," Jesus said to them. They immediately followed Jesus - the humble beginning of Mother Church. 

During the past two weeks, St. Thomas conducted the CCD Bible Study program. Children attended classes each day, discovering the Truths of God’s Kingdom through the experience of Catholic community, prayer, the prophets, the teachings of the Church, the life of Christ and his Mother. Each child is that mustard seed - open to hear and act on God’s message. With the right nourishment, good ground for hope, each child becomes God’s instrument here on earth - growing into a great force for peace in our world. 

Finally, the Kingdom is like Yeast, mixed with the wheat flower – until all was leavened. Around the clock Satan and his minions are on the prowl, seeking to cause mayhem and destruction to all believers and the work of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

How do we defeat this evil at our side today? Do we annihilate it with direct confrontation with bullets and bombs? Sometimes there is no choice. But God calls us to try to defeat the enemy of evil by “infiltration.” God’s purpose is never to “destroy” the enemy, but to change the enemy’s heart, to convert. For God loves his enemies. 

Let us thank the Lord for the truth that he shared with us today. Let us be children of the kingdom, forces of peace, teachers of truth, openers of eyes, helping our misguided brothers and sisters out of their darkness into God’s wonderful light.

The Glory of the Gospel is that even those who are becoming sons of the evil one - can be changed into sons of the kingdom.

Deacon Brian J. Murphy

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