16th Sunday in Ordinary Time - 23rd July, 2017

Liturgical Reflection


Once again we have parables from the lips of Jesus. Let me repeat, ‘parables from the lips of Jesus’ – not from the pages of a book or a commentary, but from Jesus himself – for us individually. We really need to be on our best behaviour, listening carefully to what he says.

In his explanation of the parable of the weeds in the field, he says ‘the one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man’. This is a title that Jesus uses to speak of himself, not only in this part of Scripture but at many other times as well. Other people, for example the apostles or the scribes and the Pharisees use different titles for him such as ‘Messiah’ or ‘Lord’ or ‘the Christ’ or ‘Teacher’. Why does Jesus use this title?

According to Pope Benedict XVI1, Jesus is gradually revealing himself to us, and at the same time revealing to us what our capacities and capabilities ought to be in relation to God. The expression ‘son of man’ in the Aramaic language can be translated or simply means ‘human’.

It seems to me therefore that Jesus may be saying that the responsibility to be ‘one who sows good seed’ also rests with us individually. Moreover we are not to be concerned or anxious that an evil one also sows weeds in the field. We are working for God’s kingdom and can be content that the Lord our God will sort out the harvest in good time.

Jesus says that the ‘good seed’ is the subjects of the kingdom. It follows that we are then asked to be the ones who populate the kingdom with subjects. That is to say by our lived example and how we relate to those around us, we draw others into the kingdom. This does not mean by any extraordinary or heroic actions. Not everyone has the capacity for such efforts, or suffering. But it does mean that we should do the work of the day well. We do not need to go beyond that to achieve what Jesus is asking. So, if when we rise we give our first thoughts to God, and remain recollected throughout the day as we go about our work to the best of our ability, and in particular be attentive to those around us, and at day’s end examine ourselves, we will already be a sower of good seed. It is not a short way but it is a sure way.

Kevin Walker

Jesus of Nazareth Pt 1 p321f