Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sunday 16A: Kingdom Parables of Mustard Seeds, Yeast & Weeds among Wheat - La Bienheureuse KATERI - Good Shepherd Catechesis

The story of the Mustard Seed

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year "A") - July 17, 2011 - GOD'S PATIENCE AND THAT OF HIS CHURCH - [Texts: Wisdom 12:13, 16-19 [Psalm 86]; Romans 8:26-27;  Matthew 13:24-43]

Both Jesus and the early Church used parables of wheat growing—and other transformations taking place in nature—to explain the way in which God's Kingdom has broken into the world of sinners and outcasts. 

These marginalized persons were the kind of people one might least expect to be open to receiving the Kingdom.  Yet they did.  Yet with their decision, the Church, now composed of sinners on the way to being saints, came into being.

Jesus foresaw in the mustard seed the future tree in which the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.  He taught that the Kingdom's transformation of our world was like the leavening effect yeast had in transforming three measures of flour.

Christians in every walk of life and outlook can experience frustrations with the less-than-perfect world in which we live: 

* Some husbands and wives find married life becoming onerous. 

* Consecrated religious find the ardor of novitiate enthusiasm has faded. 

* Priests and laity regret that the promise of the Second Vatican Council seems to have evanesced. 

* Sometimes good Catholics find themselves discouraged by the ongoing presence of weakness, frailty and sin rooted even within the Church.

Jesus' words in today's parable of the “weeds among the wheat”' addressed the situation of the church to which Matthew belonged at the end of the first century. 

By the time Matthew's gospel was complete, the first generation of Christian disciples had passed.  And with them some of the zeal they had had for the gospel.  They were experiencing the reality Jesus had foretold, when “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24.12).

Members of the Church found themselves challenged by the parable of the wheat and the weeds.  For the parable counsels patience, even with sinners who choose to remain, seemingly unrepentant, in church life. 

Jesus tells those tempted to pull up the weeds to be patient.  Sometimes wheat and weeds look so similar that there is a real danger of confusing the two and certainly a risk of pulling out the good with the bad.

Patience, however, need not lead to inertia.  There are always people of good will who want to take steps to tackle the problems and do all they can to better a bad situation with a serenity and peace that are the very embodiment of biblical patience. 

Indeed, the patience of Job, which was proverbial, is really outdone by the patience of God and by those in the Church who imitate God's patient disposition.

The patience of Job

The parable offers those who accept the message, that sinners are to be dealt with patiently, assurance that in the end right will triumph.  That in the end God's way will be victorious.  That one day the children of the Kingdom “will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father”.

The interpretation of the parable of the weeds is the first of five parables found in Matthew's gospel that conclude with the phrase “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (13.42, 50; 22.13; 24.51; 25.30). This stock formula derives from an early Christian source referred to as “Q", a scholarly designation for texts of the sayings of Jesus that are shared by Matthew and Luke (cf. Matthew 8.12; Luke 13.28).

The formula underlines the evangelist's emphasis on the parables as anticipations of eschatological judgment.  These are not meant to imply rejoicing over the fate that will befall outsiders or unbelievers. 

Rather, they are to serve as a warning to those inside the church not to presume on their status but to remain vigilant as they await the return of the Son of Man, living their lives in accord with the teaching of Jesus.

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Kateri est la première bienheureuse indienne du continent nord-américain.
Elle est née à Ossernenon, où les saints Isaac Jogues, René Goupil et Jean de la Lande avaient versé leur sang pour la foi.

Cliquez pour voir l'image en grand

Après bien des péripéties, elle trouve refuge à la mission jésuite Saint-François-Xavier sur le Saint-Laurent.

Là elle mènera une vie de prière et de travail exemplaire. Elle y mourra en 1680.
 Le pape Jean-Paul II
 l'a béatifiée en 1980.

 Sa fête est célébrée aux Etats-Unis le 14 juillet,
 au Canada le 17 avril.

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The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd...

is a Christian Ministry for children aged 3-12 years that is based on the Bible and liturgy of the church; it is inspired by the principles of Montessori education.

This Ministry provides:
An opportunity for children to fall in love with Jesus, the Good Shepherd, in a child-friendly space called an atrium – located in a church or school.
Guided play to aid meditation on Bible scripture and the mysteries of the Christian faith once a week - in small groups, facilitated by trained adults (catechists). That each child's unique spiritual needs and abilities are respected and nurtured.
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is recognized as a ministry offering religious formation for children by the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches of Canada.

One weekday last week, I presided at Mass at Annunciation of Our Lord Parish, Gloucester, then met with those men and women taking an intensive program to be certified to direct the children in this catechetical expression.

Here's a photo of the group:

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