Sixteenth Sunday, Year A, 23 July, 2025: Wisdom: 13:16-19; Romans 8:26-27; Matthew 13:24-43
Listening to these parables, I’d say that Jesus could never work for a political campaign or an advertising agency. Either of those occupations stress the positive advantages of the platforms they promote; Jesus’ description of the kingdom of heaven undercuts privilege, status, influence and control, as well as ease and comfort.
Consider the woman working yeast into flour: this is a laborious and thankless task, incorporating an invisible ingredient. The yeast works organically from within, not imposing a structure from without; it’s a catalyst for what the flour can do.
The tiny mustard seed can exert no control over which birds nest in it.
When weeds are overwhelmingly prevalent, they can’t be eliminated without uprooting the crops. Even the kingdom of heaven is a blend of the beneficial and detrimental, so intertwined that they cannot be successfully separated here and now. Yet a hallmark of that kingdom is honest conversion from sin; the experience of God there is in the forgiveness of sins.
No politician would admit such limitations, no advertisement would be so candid about its products’ shortcomings—what Jesus admits, by contrast, is the need for correction, our hunger and homelessness. Commitment, longsuffering, hard work—as well as indispensable hope and trust—must partner our response to the kingdom. Forget status, privilege, security and wealth!
Where status, privilege, comfort and wealth, where coercion, self-seeking compliance or security prevail—how could the kingdom of heaven ever thrive there?