Growing God’s kingdom: What we can learn about patience from parables

| Deacon Thomas McKenzie | July 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

wheatFor three straight Sundays, we hear a total of seven parables from Jesus Christ.

Last Sunday, we heard the Parable of the Sower, and in this discourse we learn that Jesus speaks in parables to those who have not been granted “knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven . . . because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand” (Matthew 13:11-13).

This week, we gain a new insight as to why Jesus speaks in parables — he is proclaiming what was hidden to all people from the beginning of the world (Matthew 13:35). On earth, there is no better way to talk about heaven than through the use of parables.

The three parables we hear in this Sunday’s Gospel point to the kingdom of heaven growing here on earth. However, there is tension because the world is not ready to accept the kingdom growing in its midst. It is not difficult for us to see that there are many people throughout the world, and even in our own cities, who are not open to listening to the word of God and allowing the kingdom to grow.

The first parable gives us the image of the seed of God growing among the weeds that were sown by the “enemy” of God (Matthew 13:25). God allows the weeds to grow alongside the wheat because if the weeds are pulled too early, it may cause harm to the wheat that is growing. This parable can really test our patience because we so often want to get rid of the bad in our society or in our own lives.

So many of us are experiencing a reawakening to evangelize and make more disciples of Jesus Christ. But often, those we want to bring back to the Church do not agree with all of her dogmas and moral teachings. We should not let those initial obstacles get in the way. Of course, we want everyone to be in full conformity to the teachings of the Church, but it will take time and patience.

These various scenarios involving tension in someone’s life with the Church may be seen as the weeds in the parable. A small seed has been sown in a person’s life where they are beginning to fall in love with Jesus Christ and the Church. We shouldn’t stifle this growing wheat seed just because we cannot stand the weeds surrounding it.

If we are patient, we know the weeds and wheat will eventually be separated, and the weeds will be collected, tied into bundles, and eventually burned (Matthew 13:30). The wheat can then be brought to the granary where it will be a pure offering to God. He allows the weeds to grow with the wheat because he governs with much leniency, as we hear in the book of Wisdom, and it allows for a “good ground for hope” that there will be “repentance for their sins” (Wisdom 12:19).

Deacon McKenzie is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His teaching parish is St. Bridget of Sweden in Lindstrom. His home parish is St. Vincent de Paul in Brooklyn Park.


Sunday, July 20

Sixteenth Sunday in ordinary time

  • Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
  • Romans 8:26-27
  • Matthew 13:24-43

Reflection:

How can you welcome someone into the Church?

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Category: Sunday Scriptures