Wisdom 12: 13, 16-19 Romans 8: 26-27 Matthew 13: 24-43 R L STEVENSON once defined the life of the christian as "to become what we are capable of becoming" and others have said that "to be christian is to be fully human". Jesus came to set us free (cf Luke 4:18) and all three of today's readings help to make this clear and to spell out some of the implications of being free to develop as we are capable.
In the gospel Jesus gives us a number of parables, the first of which describes the darnel sowed among the wheat. What
is to be done? Should the darnel be weeded out? No, comes the answer, let them both grow till the harvest. it is easy and tempting for us to make judgements about other people, easy and tempting for any church to try and become a church of the elite, to root out and expel all those who do not seem to fit in.
But Jesus, ever optimistic about people, ever hopeful, ever patient, ever ready to forgive, is anxious lest in rooting out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it.
As the first reading reminds
us, God's justice has its source in strength, your sovereignty over all makes you lenient to all. For God is mild in judgement and has given your sons the good hope that after sin you will grant repentance. This is the understanding that Jesus has come to emphasise, that our God is a God who forgives, that while people live there is the good hope that after sin you will grant repentance.
All these parables are characterised as being parables of the kingdom. given to help us understand more and more the nature of God's kingdom, a word, incidentally, that is better translated as reign, the reign of God. Jesus describes the kingdom as being like a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds which becomes the biggest shrub of all.
It is easy to relate this to the beginnings of Jesus's own reign, starting as the son of a humble carpenter, gathering round him a body of simple, unimportant people, preaching to a society which did not accept him, yet sowing the seed of faith which grew and blossomed after his resurrection until it reached the ends of the earth.
Again and again has this process of the sowing of seeds, of small beginnings, been evident in the life and story of all christian people.
In the second reading Paul reminds us of the presence of the spirit within us, helping us to grow into the fulness of God's plan for us, for the spirit comes to help us in our weakness, helping us to pray according to the mind of God so that our hearts and minds will, in unity with the spirit, be according to the mind of God. For to be in harmony with the mind of God is to be fully human.