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Church aisle facing the altar

Sunday Soundbite for July 23, 2017

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A

July 23, 2017


“Earthy” images and a practical message—that’s today’s Gospel. Jesus tells several parables: two of them dealing with gardening, and one dealing with baking.

A gardener finds weeds in among his crop, and suspects the work of an enemy. The verdict: wait until harvest to sort things out. The tiny mustard seed grows to become a great, sheltering tree. A woman makes bread, and uses just a little yeast to make the dough rise.

For the gardeners and bakers in the congregation today, proclaiming and understanding this Gospel may be easier than for us without a green thumb, who don’t know their way around the kitchen. What would Jesus talk about if he were preaching in person today in your parish or mine?

Somehow, I think he’d look around the church and imagine the world outside those walls. He’d consider the problems facing the parish, and the struggles of Christians to witness in a largely secular world, which nevertheless hungers for a message of hope. And then he’d choose imagery that would fit the situation.

Lacking a personal appearance by Christ as guest preacher this Sunday, we must stay with the Gospel. Try to listen carefully, and find there the message of hope: that no matter what obstacles it faces, no matter how small the efforts of Christians seem, the Kingdom of God will flourish.