Collect for the Week
O God, the protector of all that trust in you,
without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:
increase and multiply upon us your mercy,
that, with you as our ruler and guide,
we may so pass through things temporal
that we finally lose not the things eternal.
Grant this, O heavenly Father,
for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Amen APBA p.565
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 13: 36-43
Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!
REFLECTION on the Gospel: contributed by Carol Streatfield
Jesus’ Explanation of the Parable of the Weeds. This passage is one of those that had caused me profound questions until I read Cynthia Bourgeault’s book, “The Wisdom Jesus”.
The parable portrays a God so contrary to Jesus’ general teaching of a God of Love. Now, some would say this is the God of Justice, but is this justice? There is a difference between justice and cruelty. Even in war there are rules about ‘allowable killing’ and torture. Some would say these people did it to themselves, but the passage says the Son of Man and his angels consigned them to the fire. So what’s the explanation?
One explanation may be that Jesus is using the parable as an allegory meaning the burning up of one’s own evil and violence, a kind of purgation of the soul, or at least a good try at being decent. But Bourgeault’s explanation is intriguing. A technique of spiritual teachers is to set their followers conundrums that cannot be easily solved; paradoxes, and inconsistencies, or just plain nonsense, but then demanding that the puzzle be solved. The purpose is to push the follower past their thinking, past their reasoning mind, through into the experience of God. Viewing the parable this way, from this larger perspective, there is no longer a problem because when one pushes through the thinking, through into the experience then one ‘knows’ the God of Love and one has the answer. The parable has done its work.
Eternal God and Father, by whose power
we are created and by whose love we are redeemed:
guide and strengthen us by your Spirit,
that we may give ourselves to your service
and live this day in love to one another and to you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [Morning Collect AAPB]