July 20th, 2014, Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1How have you experienced God's mercy and justice in your life? How can you show mercy and justice to others?
Reading 1 Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
Reading 1 ReflectionIn the first reading the author of the Book of Wisdom praises God, who is mighty in power yet merciful and just. Unlike the false pagan gods, God does not unjustly punish anyone. God teaches the people that the just must be kind and the powerful must be forgiving. Good leaders are merciful and just. Those who know God, yet still defy God's authority, will be rebuked, or corrected.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Have you ever felt that, "I do not know how to pray"? Prayer is not a matter of words but an attitude of the heart. Such an attitude cannot always be expressed in speech. Recall a time when this was the case with you. Since we are human, however, words help us express ourselves to God. Think of some of your favorite prayers, poems, meditations, or "expressions to God." Share them with your group. Then, together, think of ways you can be more in touch with the Spirit of God within you, each and every day.
Here is a prayer you might like to say every so often. It is called the Breton Fisherman's Prayer, because it comes from Brittany (in northern France):
"Dear God, be good to me. The sea is so wide, and my boat is so small."
Reading 2 Romans 8:26-27
Reading 2 ReflectionIf we think about St. Paul's words in the second reading, we will never be discouraged by our own weakness. He reminds us that, no matter how weak we are, we can always call on the power of the Spirit within us.
Where do you see seeds of faith in your culture?
Where do you see weeds?
Discussion Questions for GospelGardeners tell us that we have to be careful when pulling weeds. Some weeds look very much like the flowers and vegetables around them! Sometimes they have to be allowed to grow a little to be sure they are truly weeds! Also, gardeners must be careful not to pull up the good plants with the weeds, especially when they are growing close together.
Name some weeds in your personal world. Then name some weeds in our country. Then name some weeds in the world in general. What is your attitude toward these weeds? What do you think might be Jesus' attitude toward them? How should we treat these weeds?
If you look carefully, you might find some "weeds" inside your own heart. What is Jesus' attitude toward them? How will you deal with them?
Gospel Matthew 13:24-43 or 13:24-30
Gospel ReflectionIn the gospel reading, Jesus is determined that his disciples will understand how the kingdom grows in their midst. So he tells the parable of the weeds in the wheat field. The sower (Jesus) allows both the wheat (those who work for God's kingdom) and the weeds (those who work against God's kingdom) to grow together until the harvest (the end of time).
The gospel story tells us much about the justice and mercy of God. Even though the weeds are present in our world, the wheat is growing and will prosper in the end. The grace of Christ will triumph over sin and evil. Pray: Help me, Lord, to be your faithful follower until your kingdom comes in its fullness. Amen.