16th Sun A
The Commentaries Summarised
As a Church we are in a web of wisdom that comes to us both from tradition and contemporary writers. This section offers a summary of some commentaries on the Gospel. Also below is a list of the books and articles that have been consulted in compiling this Sunday's "Pray As You Can" and which could be used for further reading.
This Sunday's Commentary
This Sunday’s Gospel continues the teaching that Jesus gave in parables, the short riddle-stories that caused people ponder what he was saying. All of these parables explore the mystery of the kingdom of God. The use of the term ‘kingdom of heaven’ was an oblique way of referring to the kingdom of God for the devout Jew of that time, out of respect, avoided using the word ‘God’.
The believers of Jesus’ time could well ask why hadn’t the people of Israel accepted Jesus as their Messiah just as we may ask why people of our time reject belief in God and in Jesus. The parable of the wheat and darnel addresses this problem. Darnel was a poisonous weed that looked very similar to wheat when young. In fact, it doesn’t really manifest its difference until the seed head appears. In this parable, Jesus challenges our assumptions concerning who belongs in the kingdom of God and who does not. Quite simply, it is only God who can judge and his judgement will be revealed at the end of time. That judgement will be based on the fruits that are produced.
The quiet, even obscure, coming of the Kingdom was a challenge to Jesus’ followers and the next two parables address this. Even John the Baptist, who had had such a revelation concerning who Jesus’ was, couldn’t understand why Jesus didn’t come in power and glory confronting dramatically the evil that was around him. Rather Jesus says the kingdom is like a tiny seed growing, like yeast in flour. The disciples had to trust that in God’s time and with God’s power that seed would offer shelter to birds, as well as flavour people’s food. The disciples had to understand that the growth of the kingdom could be as silent and as sure and effective as yeast growing in flour. The three measures mentioned in the parable are about 25 kilos, about the limit of what one person could possibly knead and far more than a family needed. Those three measures are a sign of the abundant generosity of this silently growing kingdom of God.