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Jul 22, 2017 Written by  Fr. Paulino Twesigye Mondo

16th Sunday of ordinary time year A Be the first to comment!

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Theme: Patience pays

If we were compare the mercy and patience of God to the cruelty of some human persons, what strikes is a tremendous contrast of extremes. There is a tendency among us human beings to distinguish, discriminate and even to ridicule one another. This high measure of weakness and diminishment of personal value has in some occasions unfortunately proved to be a sufficient momentum for provoking some of the darkest periods in the history of humankind. In an effort to separate ‘good’ from ‘bad’ from the insurgents, some communities have wiped out other human groups on pretence of weeding out the unwanted. The only crime of those being persecuted is that they are viewed as different. This is the reason behind the Jewish holocaust and the genocides that we still witness today. Segregation and separation of peoples because of their different ethnic and social groups has been a disease on the frontage of humanity for centuries. This attitude hurts the Gospel and ought to be challenged by Christianity.

First reading: Wisdom 12:13, 16-17

The book of Wisdom was written around 60 B.C and then given an introduction as the work of Solomon, David’s son and Israel’s third king. This was meant to safeguard its content and gain respect, but in reality is was written in Greek language as a defense of Judaism against the pervasive influence of the pagan culture that was encroaching on Jewish religious values. The author must have been a well educated Greek-speaking Jew living in Alexandria Egypt. This suggestion finds support in the book’s emphasis on Egypt and its relationship to Israel in chapters 11-19 and the polemic against animal worship in chapters 13-15 which was so prevalent then in Egypt. Using a language appreciated at the time, the writer offered practical pastoral counsel to his audience. His intention was to help Jewish immigrants to remain faithful to their Jewish faith and heritage despite the allure of foreign philosophies and sciences.

Part of the way in which the diaspora Jews preserved their traditions intact was to keep themselves separate from anything that threatened to defile them. Hence the emergence of the Jewish quarter commonly known as ghetto, a haven of safety and sanctity in what was often a hostile and secular environment. Yet this was not the way because it created open antagonism against those of other persuasions. Wisdom reminded the audience an earlier period in their history at the time of their enslavement in Egypt that was repeating itself.

What we are reading today is part of the second half of Wisdom that is within Chapter 11:2 to 19:22 wherein the writer styled a synkrisis/comparison of the key features of the exodus events. He invited his colleagues to recognize a pattern in the unfolding of events where Israel appeared to be blessed by the very factors which deterred and punished the Egyptians. Interestingly, the text represents a departure from Wisdom’s lengthy comparison and reminds the Jews in Alexandria of God’s tolerance and merciful patience. God is patient because he loves all that he has made and because he is the sovereign master of his great power cf. Wisdom 11:17-12:8-22.

He insists that God did not lack the means to deal harshly with the Egyptians because he is all powerful and none can oppose him; but he has mercy on all his creatures and gives them an opportunity to repent. By the way he treats their enemies, God teaches his children to temper justice with mercy and to hope for mercy from him. Therefore the lesson for the book of Wisdom to his colleagues and also to all of us today is to learn to live in the modern world, not according to the hereditary suspicion and hostility of a ghetto mentality which wishes doom for the enemy but accord clemency and kindness as we have learnt from God. The book of Wisdom reminds us that as a Church we can never afford to be isolated from the world. It is through us that mercy and love of God is communicated to humankind.  The Church is not a defended fort from which to issue proclamations of destruction. Tolerant of all, like in the parable of weeds and wheat, we Christians ought to provide the ground of God-like patience, mutual respect and forgiveness.

Second reading: Romans 8:26-27

During their earthly companionship, the disciples of Jesus requested that he teach them to pray. Responding to their desire for communion with God, he taught them the ‘Our Father’.

In confident hope and love, they were instructed to call the Creator of the universe as Abba, which means Tata/Daddy and to rely on him for their daily needs, for protection from evil and for his healing forgiveness cf. Matthew 6:9-13. Jesus also promised that upon his return to the Father, he would send them a helper and a teacher like himself to dwell within them reminding them of all that he had told them cf. John 14:25-26. In this short pericope to the Romans, St. Paul revels in the presence of Jesus’ promised Spirit, with particular attention given to His role in the prayer life of every believer. Not only does the abiding presence of the Spirit enable us to give expression to our relation with the Father, which is that of adopted sons and daughters, but the Spirit which empowers us to maintain that communion with God without which life would have no meaning and purpose cf. Romans 8:15-16.

In describing the way in which the Spirit supports the process of prayer, we can affirm that ‘prayer is the divine in us, appealing to the divine above us’. We habitually think of prayer in terms of ‘me down here down on earth’ speaking to ‘God up there in heaven’. It is the Spirit of God within each one of us praying to ‘God up there’. Thus immanence and transcendence are both acted out in the activity of prayer. Let us know it from today that prayer is an activity in which me and you in faith participate in the mystery of the Trinity. Even when human attempts at prayer prove weak and ineffective, the Spirit/hyperentynchanei, transcends that weakness by interceding over and above with groaning. The Spirit renders my prayer to the Trinity with sighs too deep for words. Early in Romans Chapter 8, St. Paul uses the same term ‘groaning’ to describe creation’s longing for freedom from corruption and for fulfillment. Romans 8: 22. The Spirit-aided prayer supports any one who eagerly yearns to become all that God has been intended him/her to be. Happily, St. Paul insists that even in our weakest moments of inarticulate struggle in prayer, . . . even in the potholes of the banal and routine. . . Even in the throes of seething resentment or in the tears of burdensome sadness, the presence of the Spirit guarantees that our wordlessness be translated into a plea which centers us once again and renews the communion which sustains us to say Abba! Tata! Daddy!

Gospel: Matthew 13:24-43

Today Matthew presents to us the third discourse comprised of a collection of seven parables about the kingdom. Three of those are an extended explanation in which Jesus is underlying the principle for using parables as a method of alerting people about the coming of God’s reign among them. Why does our Lord Jesus like to use parables? Here I offer you a simple explanation: 1- Parables make the truth concrete by a turning it into a picture which people can envision and understand. 2- Parables begin from the here and now in order to lead to the there and then. Parables begin with the familiar in order to teach something new. 3- Parables, like most story-telling techniques compel interest. 4- Parables enable a person to discover the truth or an idea for him/herself. Because they are spoken and not read, the impact of the parable is immediate, making the truth flash upon a person as lightning suddenly illuminating a pitch-dark night. 5- For those unwilling to accept its message, the parable reminds a mystery. Placing the responsibility squarely on the shoulders and the listening heart individually, parables reveal the truth to those who seek it and conceal the truth from those who reject it cf. Matthew 13:34-35.

A key to understanding the thrust of the parable is often found by noticing those to whom the parable is addressed or the situation which occasioned it. The parable of the wheat and weeds in Matthew 13:24-30 was prompted by criticism leveled at Jesus because of his association with sinners. Whereas the religious teachers and leaders of his day would have separated themselves from the tax-collectors and sinners whom they regarded as unclean and outside the God’s salvific concerns, Jesus made a point of searching them out to minister and teach them of the Father’s loving reign. Jesus’ parable: 1- repudiates elitism; 2- underscores the fact that the human community is a ‘mixed bag of wheat and weeds, of good and bad’; 3- that judgment is God’s sole prerogative and 4- that judgment will be rendered only at the harvest/end time; until then there is ample opportunity for change and growth. Weeds can be transformed into wheat; the bad can respond to God’s invitation and turn to goodness. For Jesus’ self-righteous ones, the parable warned against judging, labeling and therefore segregating others by virtue of that judgment.

It is the Church’s responsibility to preach repentance while at the same time practicing patience. By means of the twin parables of the mustard seed and the leaven, Jesus taught that even seemingly insignificant beginnings; a small seed, a little yeast, a group of twelve followers, can issue forth in great, even wondrous results. For those who accepted the reign of God in Jesus, during his ministry, for the early Church which preached of the kingdom after his death and resurrection, and for the Church of today which continues Jesus’ mission of undiscriminating, patient service, these parables offer hope and encouragement.

Application

The readings for today’s liturgy hold out a challenge to all of us to avoid being judgmental. God alone has the prerogative of judging and distinguishing among his people, and as the parable of the wheat and weeds attest today, he is not quick to condemn. The forgiveness and mercy provide the good ground where hope can grow and new beginnings can take root. As further assurance of his love, God is continuously offering to us the gift of his abiding Spirit to help, to guide, to support and to sustain that prayerful communion which prevents our separation from Him and our discrimination against one another. We need to be known by our tolerance and love.

 

290 Last modified on Saturday, 22 July 2017 09:36

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Luganda: 7:30 am.  English: 9:00 am, 11:00 am and 5;00 pm.

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About Our Church

Welcome to Our Lady of Africa Parish Mbuya. We are located near Bugolobi Township in Nakawa Division. It is about 5 kms from the City Centre of Kampala. Mbuya Catholic Parish is a vibrant and diverse community made up of people from different parts of Uganda. We welcome you warmly and joyfully.

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