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Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Let them both grow till the harvest

The Word This Week

There is no room in a good field for weeds and rubbish: so in the Kingdom of Heaven, there is no room for ‘all things that provoke offences, and all who do evil’. They must be got rid of, for the sake of the good wheat, for the sake of the good subjects of the kingdom. But this weeding out will not take place until  harvest time - in case one piece of good wheat is destroyed with the weeds. This shows the mercy of God: everyone has chance after chance to prove that they are wheat, not darnel; there are no quick judgements in the kingdom of heaven, and things are never as black and white as we think. Only at the end of time will evil stand out clearly, so that it can be disposed of, and only the Son of Man can judge.

Notes for Readers

First Reading: Wisdom 12:13. 16-19

God is the only just and perfect judge: but his perfect judging is mild and lenient. This is a great and mature prayer of trust in God: not a vengeful and arbitrary deity, but a God whose strength is love. When you proclaim this, there must be a quiet confidence in your voice: this is not a shout from the rooftops, but the cry of a heart that is aware of the way in which we human beings can wander from the path, until we are called back gently by a God who is ‘good and forgiving’. With the voice, you can express many thoughts: reading about ‘strength’ and ‘sovereign power’ demands a different tone from reading about ‘lenience’ and ‘mildness’. While proclaiming this reading gently, make sure that it still has some movement and variety.


Second Reading: Romans 8:26-27

Two simple verses of Paul’s letter, but containing so much! One of the problems we often face in our lives as Christians is an inability to pray: we know what we want to say, but somehow we cannot express that thought in any way. Many of the congregation you stand before will know this feeling. Today, you are offering an answer to that problem, so read with the conviction that what you are saying is useful and relevant. It is all about surrender to the Spirit who expresses our pleas. The content of this reading is so simple and comforting that it should present no problems to the reader, as long as you are aware of the wonderful nature of the gift that is being offered in this reading, and allow that gift to be perceived and taken by the listening assembly.


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