Saturday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Ex 24:3-8; Ps 50:1-15; Mt13:24-30

“Gather my faithful ones before me.”

Only at the harvest time will the faithful ones all come together and stand before the God who has made covenant with them by sacrifice.  Between now and then, the faithful and the unfaithful receive sunshine and rain; both continue to grow side-by-side.  After the words and ordinances of the Lord were written down and publicly proclaimed all the people answered: “All that the Lord has said, we will heed and do.”  However, the rescued slaves were not yet pure of heart and did not fulfill their vows.  Even though they were released from Egypt, the gods of their oppressors still had a place in their hearts.  It took many years of wandering before they were ready to receive the promise, but Moses sent young men to offer sacrifice so that the future generations would remember the promises they had made and keep alive the covenant made in blood.  Likewise the harvesters will gather in both the weeds and the wheat at the harvest.  The weeds gathered for the burning, and the wheat gathered for the barn.  At this Perfect Sacrifice we, too, stand between the beginning and the end of all time.  We stand before the Lord God who has spoken and summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.  In responding at liturgy today, we admit our faithlessness and rely upon God’s faithfulness in Christ, the Great High Priest.

One might ask, “Why did Moses write down all the words of the LORD?”  Perhaps Moses knew that the people’s initial enthusiastic response would be forgotten.  Moses, the great prophet and teacher, knew the hearts of the children of Israel.  He knew they would remember the Lord in times of distress, but at other times they would conveniently forget all that the Lord had done and said.  At every Mass we consume the blood of the Lamb of God the spotless and unblemished sacrifice by which the New Covenant is made and renewed.  Yet, still our piety is like the early morning dew; it fades away.  The great rejoicing and celebration of our vows in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders are all to easily forgotten.  Our loud affirmation, “We will do everything that the LORD has told us,” is all to easily sacrificed on the altar of daily convenience and self-interest.

From the early days of the church it was obvious that some had heard and responded to the good seed of the Word of God; however there are weeds planed by an enemy that fooled many.  The weeds growing in the garden of God’s Kingdom on earth look just like wheat plants when they are young.  Therefore, to attempt gathering the weeds and not the wheat before the time of harvest was not possible.   Until both plants matured and the differences were completely obvious, it would be impossible to uproot one and not destroy the other.  Even now the church houses both weeds and wheat, and still we must resist the desire to make the church look good.  The appearance of perfection is merely an illusion, the work of an enemy.  It is the work of the Christ and his angels to separate the weeds from the wheat and until that day, we must not rip up and tear out.  Every human eye is too blind to distinguish between the true wheat and true weeds.  Although we are not equipped to judge the church, we must weed our own inner garden or we will have little to no room for the Eucharist and the King it makes present here and now.