Year A: 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The call to mission has to be the permanent result and aim of becoming a synodal Church.

Picture looking over a mans shoulder as he reads the bible
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Wisdom 12:13,16-19; Romans 8:26-27; Matthew 13:24-43

‘There is no god, other than you, who cares for everything… your sovereignty over all makes you lenient to all.’ The canvas is as wide as the whole of humanity in its dialogue with God. Wisdom addresses everyone – not any section of humanity.  Psalm 85: “All the nations shall come to adore you.” The Psalmist’s vision encompasses all the nations. 

Matthew portrays Jesus presenting the Kingdom not as if it is to be the preserve of a certain group of people – it is potentially the fulfilment of every man and every woman – anyone who sows or who mixes yeast! Beyond his immediate hearers and pointing them to the audience of the whole of humanity – Jesus addresses every human being. So often, we Christians slip easily into an exclusive reading of the Gospels. We paint a veneer of Christian possessiveness over the text. But it was not originally addressed to “Christians”.  It was addressed mainly to a Jewish audience and was clearly meant and intended to open them up to its universal application: “The Kingdom of heaven may be compared to a MAN!” Not a Jewish man and certainly not a Christian man or woman. We must learn to unloosen our reading of our unconscious Christian inclusivity. Jesus addresses everyone. His words can be applied to everyone.  God in Jesus (this is Christian belief) is entering a new crucial phase of the eternal dialogue with the whole of humanity. Jesus of course, had to speak to a finite number and set of people – but his words are addressed to the widest audience and take on a more universal application.  Christians reading the Gospels have had to condition themselves to get away from the fact that Jesus was speaking to Jews and have had to seek to apply his words to themselves – as if Jesus is really only now speaking to ‘Christians’.

Sometimes we end up not facilitating and nurturing the dialogue between God and humanity, not by pointing to God and the Kingdom, but by proclaiming and pointing to ourselves. It is as if instead of attending to the moon which the finger is pointing to, we attend myopically to the finger! Hence the call to understand mission to be the permanent result and aim of becoming a synodal Church.