Depiction of Jesus on The Cross in a church

Sunday Soundbite for July 23, 2023

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A
July 23, 2023

“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.

Christmas in July

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