Daily Reflection – July 26, 2016
Tuesday 26 July 2016
First Reading: Jeremiah 14:17-22
For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us
Psalm 78(79):8-9, 11, 13
Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:36-43
Today’s Saint: St Joachim and St Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial)
Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house.
His disciples approached him and said,
“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the Evil One,
and the enemy who sows them is the Devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as 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 who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun
in the Kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
They will collect out of his Kingdom all who cause others to sin. (Matthew 13:41)
The servants in this parable are eager to get rid of the weeds in their master’s field, but he counsels patience. Both the weeds and the wheat are growing, and it isn’t entirely clear how they will develop.
Although Jesus applies the parable to righteous and evil individuals, we can just as easily apply it to the good and evil tendencies sprouting in our own hearts. There are so many “gray areas” when it comes to our inner lives that it can be difficult to discern which seeds we should cultivate and which ones we should try to uproot. But in today’s Gospel reading, Jesus gives us an important clue: take a look at the way these words, actions, or thoughts affect the people around you.
Those of us who are parents can learn this by observing the effect we have on our children. Small children imitate even the way we walk, our facial expressions, or other habitual gestures. Have you ever had the experience of being horrified to hear a child use a swearword or a complaining tone that sounds eerily like yourself? It’s humbling, isn’t it? But it can also bring us up short and move us to make some changes in our lives.
The opposite of “causing others to sin,” of course, is helping them to grow in holiness. We want our children to learn kindness, honesty, and generosity from us, and we work hard to make that happen. Our children don’t always see it, but it’s there. It was probably similar for Joachim and Anne. Their prayerfulness, their humility, and their openness to the Spirit clearly affected Mary. How else could she have found the courage to give a wholehearted yes to the angel’s invitation?
Think for a moment about people who have had that kind of positive effect on you—a parent, a teacher, a priest, a friend, or a mentor. As a popular saying puts it, “I love you not only for what you are but for what I am when I am with you.”
Take the time today to express your gratitude to one of these people. And pray to be that kind of influence on other people.
“Father, help me bear fruit that pleases you so that I can be a positive influence on the people around me.”