St. Peter's Square
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning,
These Sundays the liturgy proposes several Gospel parables, that is, short stories which Jesus used to announce the Kingdom of Heaven to the crowds. Among those in today’s Gospel, there is a rather complex one which Jesus explained to the disciples: it is that of the good grain and the weed, which deals with the problem of evil in the world and calls attention to God’s patience (cf. Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43). The story takes place in a field where the owner sows grain, but during the night his enemy comes and sows weed, a term which in Hebrew derives from the same root as the name “Satan” and which alludes to the concept of division. We all know that the demon is a “sower of weed”, one who always seeks to sow division between individuals, families, nations and peoples. The servants wanted to uproot the weed immediately, but the field owner stopped them, explaining that: “in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them” (Matthew 13:29). Because we all know that a weed, when it grows, looks very much like good grain, and there is the risk of confusing them.
The teaching of the parable is twofold. First of all, it tells that the evil in the world comes not from God but from his enemy, the evil one. It is curious that the evil one goes at night to sow weed, in the dark, in confusion; he goes where there is no light to sow weed. This enemy is astute: he sows evil in the middle of good, thus it is impossible for us men to distinctly separate them; but God, in the end, will be able to do so.
And here we arrive at the second theme: the juxtaposition of the impatience of the servants and the patient waiting of the field owner, who represents God. At times we are in a great hurry to judge, to categorize, to put the good here, the bad there.... But remember the prayer of that self-righteous man: “God, I thank you that I am good, that I am not like other men, malicious” (cf. Luke 18:11-12). God, however, knows how to wait. With patience and mercy he gazes into the “field” of life of every person; he sees much better than we do the filth and the evil, but he also sees the seeds of good and waits with trust for them to grow. God is patient, he knows how to wait. This is so beautiful: our God is a patient father, who always waits for us and waits with his heart in hand to welcome us, to forgive us. He always forgives us if we go to him.
The field owner’s attitude is that of hope grounded in the certainty that evil does not have the first nor the last word. And it is thanks to this patient hope of God that the same weed, which is the malicious heart with so many sins, in the end can become good grain. But be careful: evangelical patience is not indifference to evil; one must not confuse good and evil! In facing weeds in the world the Lord’s disciple is called to imitate the patience of God, to nourish hope with the support of indestructible trust in the final victory of good, that is, of God.
In the end, in fact, evil will be removed and eliminated: at the time of harvest, that is, of judgment, the harvesters will follow the orders of the field owner, separating the weed to burn it (cf. Matthew 13:30). On the day of the final harvest, the judge will be Jesus, He who has sown good grain in the world and who himself became the “grain of wheat”, who died and rose. In the end we will all be judged by the same measure with which we have judged: the mercy we have shown to others will also be shown to us. Let us ask Our Lady, our Mother, to help us to grow in patience, in hope and in mercy with all brothers and sisters.
After the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters,
I received with concern the news of the Christian communities in Mosul, Iraq, and in other parts of the Middle East, where they have lived from the beginning of Christianity with their fellow citizens, offering a meaningful contribution to the good of society. Today they are persecuted; our brothers and sisters are persecuted, they are pushed out, forced to leave their homes without the opportunity to take anything with them. To these families and to these people I would like to express my closeness and my steadfast prayer. Dearest brothers and sisters so persecuted, I know how much you suffer, I know that you are deprived of everything. I am with you in your faith in Him who conquered evil! And to you, here in the Square and to the many who are watching us on television, I address a call to remember these Christian communities in your prayers. I also urge you to persevere in prayer for the situations of tension and conflict that persist in different parts of the world especially in the Middle East and Ukraine.
May God of peace create in all an authentic desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is not conquered with violence. Violence is conquered with peace! Let us pray in silence, asking for peace; everyone, in silence.... Mary Queen of peace, pray for us!
I address a cordial greeting to all of you, pilgrims coming from Italy and from other countries. I greet the choir of the Diocese of Killala, Ireland, the Blessed Sisters of Divine Providence and the Sisters of Charity of St Joan Antida, the faithful of Pescara and Villanova in Padua, the youth of Messina and the children who are guests during the summer holiday at Tivoli. Please, do not forget to pray for me. To all I wish a happy Sunday and a good lunch. Arrivederci!
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homily of Pope Francis I, so that they could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Second Reading: Extracted from the letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 8:28-30
We know that by turning everything to their good, God co-operates with all those who love him, with all those he has called according to his purpose.
They are the ones he chose specially long ago and intended to become true images of his Son, so that his Son might be the eldest of many brothers.
He called those he intended for this; those he called he justified, and with those he justified he shared his glory.
I call you friends, says the Lord, because I have made known to you
everything I have learnt from my Father.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to mere children.
10 August 2014
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, First Reading:
Extracted from the First Book of Kings, 1 Kings 3:5,7-12
The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, ‘Ask what you would like me to give you.’
Solomon replied, ‘O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in succession to David my father. But I am a very young man, unskilled in leadership. Your servant finds himself in the midst of this people of yours that you have chosen, a people so many its number cannot be counted or reckoned. Give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil, for who could govern this people of yours that is so great?’
It pleased the Lord that Solomon should have asked for this.
‘Since you have asked for this’ the Lord said ‘and not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies, but have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you.’
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Responsorial:
Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77,127-130
Response: Lord, how I love your law!
My part, I have resolved, O Lord, is to obey your word.
The law from your mouth means more to me than silver and gold.
Let your love be ready to console me by your promise to your servant.
Let your love come and I shall live for your law is my delight.
That is why I love your commands more than finest gold,
why I rule my life by your precepts, and hate false ways.
Your will is wonderful indeed; therefore I obey it.
The unfolding of your word gives light and teaches the simple.