- St. John's Church
Sunday, July 19 Readings
THIS WEEK’S READINGS
God Speaks to Families Through the Sunday Readings
God has shown Himself to be a God of justice and mercy.
Lord, You are good and forgiving.
The Spirit intercedes for us with God.
Matthew 13:24-43 (shorter form: Matthew 13:24-30)
Jesus offers parables about the Kingdom of Heaven and explains them to His disciples.
Background on the Gospel Reading
In today’s Gospel, Jesus offers three parables to describe the Kingdom of Heaven. He also explains why He speaks to the crowds in parables and interprets the parable of the sower for the disciples. This read-ing is a continuation of Jesus’ discourse that we began reading last Sunday.
All three parables use commonplace experiences to describe aspects of the Kingdom of Heaven. The first parable is longer and more detailed than the next two, and it alerts us to the two-fold reality of the Kingdom of Heaven. The beginnings of the Kingdom of Heaven can be found in this world. The fruition of the Kingdom of Heaven, however, will not be realized until the final judgment. In the meantime, as Jesus’ explanation to the disciples cautions, any effort to judge the progress of the Kingdom of Heaven is prema-ture. Only God, in the final judgment, will distinguish the fruit of the Kingdom of Heaven and offer its reward.
The second and third parables call to our attention the abundance that will result from the small be-ginnings of the Kingdom of Heaven. Just as a mustard seed—the smallest of all seeds—will become a large bush, so too God will bring His Kingdom to full bloom. As a small amount of yeast will leaven the entire batch of bread, so too God will bring about the expansion of his Kingdom. In each case the image is of the superabundance that God brings out of even the smallest of signs of the Kingdom.
Contained within these parables are words of caution as well as words of consolation. In the parable of the sower we are warned against judging others. To judge and uproot the “weeds” prematurely will harm the wheat; final judgment rests with God. In the parables of the mustard seed and the yeast, we are con-soled by the message that God can work wonders and produce abundance from even the smallest begin-nings of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Taken together, the parables found in today’s Gospel offer both a sobering reminder about the King-dom of God and words of encouragement. As the wheat and the weeds must grow together until the harvest, so we may not know whether our actions contribute to God’s Kingdom until God’s final judgment. With this word of caution in mind, we act always in prayer that our actions will be consistent with God’s plans. In the parables of the mustard seed and the yeast, we hear words of encouragement. God can bring the Kingdom of Heaven from even the smallest of beginnings. Thus, we ask God to work through us for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Set aside some time this week to make bread with your family. Show the amount of yeast that is re-quired to raise an entire batch of bread. Observe that little things can go a long way. After the bread has been baked, gather together as a family. Read together today’s Gospel, Matthew 13:24-43. Reflect together on what Jesus means when He teaches that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed and like yeast. In these parables, Jesus is teaching us that God can work wonders from even the smallest beginnings of the Kingdom of God. This means that even the little things that we do can make a big difference in the lives of others. What are some of the little things that we can do in our family that help to make things better for oth-ers? Decide on one action to take together. Pray that God will use your action to make a difference in the world. Pray together the Lord’s Prayer.