Worship At Home
The Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Worship at Home with
Corpus Christi Church

The Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

 

Whatever your present status in the Catholic Church, whatever your
current family or marital situation, whatever your past or present
religious affiliation, whatever your personal history, age, background,
race or color, sexual orientation, whatever your self-esteem…you are
invited, welcomed, accepted, loved and respected by the
Catholic Community of Corpus Christi.
Let us know your needs, your hopes, your gifts.
There is a place for you here.

 


Opening Song

A Place at the Table:

 

 

Opening Prayer

We begin in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

Amen

Loving God,
we praise you and we love you.
We gather together ready to hear your word with joyful expectation and a hunger to encounter your presence.
Break through our hardened views and help us to soften our hearts to receive your call.
Help us turn from the selfish consumption of resources meant for all
and see the true impacts of our choices on the poor and vulnerable.
We ask this through Christ our Lord

Amen


The First Reading

A reading from the Book of the Wisdom
There is no god besides you who have the care of all,
that you need show you have not unjustly condemned.
For your might is the source of justice;
your mastery over all things makes you lenient to all.
For you show your might when the perfection of your power is disbelieved;
and in those who know you, you rebuke temerity.
But though you are master of might, you judge with clemency,
and with much lenience you govern us;
for power, whenever you will, attends you.
And you taught your people, by these deeds,
that those who are just must be kind;
and you gave your children good ground for hope
that you would permit repentance for their sins.
The word of the Lord

Thanks Be To God

 

 

The Second Reading

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans
Brothers and sisters:
The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
And the one who searches hearts
knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
because he intercedes for the holy ones
according to God’s will.
The word of the Lord

Thanks Be To God

 

 

The Gospel

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew
Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying:
“The kingdom of heaven may be likened
to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came
and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.
The slaves of the householder came to him and said,
‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?
Where have the weeds come from?’
He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’
His slaves said to him,
‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds
you might uproot the wheat along with them.
Let them grow together until harvest;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
“First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
He proposed another parable to them.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds,
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush,
and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’”
He spoke to them another parable.
“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch was leavened.”
All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He spoke to them only in parables,
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:
I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation
of the world.
Then, dismissing the crowds, he 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.”
The Gospel of the Lord

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

 

 


The Homily

Fr. John Parkos

WEEDS AND WHEAT: OK PLACE TO BE; NOT AN OK PLACE TO STAY
Paul says, in the Letter to the Romans (8:28),
“All things work together for good.”
St. Francis of Assisi says,
“Can true humility and compassion exist in our words and in our eyes, unless we know we too are capable of any act?”

(Francis of Assisi paraphrased by Daniel Ladinsky, Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West, Penguin, Compass Series: 2002)

Another farmer sowing seeds this week. This week it is about wheat. Plus, this week we add weeds to the mix. The wheat and the weeds. Well, that’s me! I am the poster child for the parable of the weeds and the wheat, truth be known. And so are you. It is an OK place to be. It is not an OK place to stay. We are all on the move … to glory.
Last week we heard Paul (Romans 8:18-23) talk about our ambiguity on how to proceed on the journey of life and the “groanings” in our spirit that results. Groanings express frustrations and questionings well below the level of being able to put words on our concerns. Because God doesn’t hand out blueprints that detail our lifelong-missions, and because God and divine ways are completely different or “other” (the basic meaning of “holy”) from humans and their ways. Christians do not always know what to pray for. And so, on a level beyond sensory experience and beneath consciousness, the Spirit whom God did hand out at Baptism intercedes for them / us “according to God’s will” with the Holy Spirit’s own inexpressible groanings, and God, “the one who searches hearts,” understands the Spirit’s intention.
This week (Romans 8:26-27) we again hear about how the Holy Spirit facilitates that conversation between us and God. But conversations must always go both directions between the parties involved. The Spirit can articulate our concerns to the God who “searches hearts.” But the Spirit also can communicate to us, through groanings in our hearts and in our prayer, the longings in the heart of God, for us to hear and obey the urgings that lead us on the path to glory.
Jesus uses a number of images that illustrate the tension between good and evil, and the tension between the good and the better. He is strongly urging us not to settle for too little. Do not settle for less than our full destiny, as God dreams us. These urgings say this world is a mixture of different things, and unless you learn how to see deeply, you don’t know which is which, and you don’t notice that God allows both good and bad to grow in the same field (Matthew 13:24-30). When a student asks Jesus if he should pull out the weeds, Jesus says to “let them both grow together until the harvest” (13:30). Then, at the end of time, God will decide what is wheat and what is a weed.
In a certain way, he is saying it is none of our business to fully figure it out. This is really quite risky of God; and it takes tremendous courage on our part to trust God and ourselves here. We are all a mixture of weeds and wheat and we always will be. We are simultaneously saint and sinner.
That’s the mystery of holding weeds and wheat together in our one field of life. It takes a lot more patience, compassion, forgiveness, and love than aiming for some illusory perfection that is usually blind to its own faults.
Acknowledging both the wheat and weeds in us keeps us from thinking too highly of ourselves and also from dismissing ourselves as terrible. To avoid cynicism and negativity, you have to learn to accept and forgive this mixed bag of reality that you are — and everyone else is, too. If you don’t, you’ll likely become a very angry and judgmental person.
To accept the weeds doesn’t mean that you say, “It’s okay to be ignorant and evil.” It means you have some real wisdom about yourself. You can see your weeds and acknowledge when you are not compassionate or caring. You have to name the weed as a weed. I am not perfect; you’re not perfect; the church is not perfect; America is not perfect. If we must have perfection to be happy with ourselves, we have only two choices: We can blind ourselves to our own evil (and deny the weeds), or we can give up in discouragement (and deny the wheat). It takes uncommon humility to carry both the dark and the light side of things
The only true perfection available to humans is the honest acceptance of our imperfection. This is precisely what Divine Perfection can help us do; only God in us can love imperfect and broken things. By ourselves, we largely fail. Learning how to love — which is our life’s project — is quite simply learning to accept our messy reality.
If you love anyone, then you have learned to accept them despite their faults. You see a few things you’d like to change in your partner, your children, yourself. By the Largeness of God within you, you are able to trust that the good is deeper than the bad, and usually well hidden. So, you learn, hopefully, to love your loved ones’ wheat and weeds– the whole mess … the whole, hope-filled “mess.”
Our job is not to “fix” our loved ones’ faults, but to “walk each other home” to God. God alone knows for sure which, in the long run, are weeds and which is wheat. This is probably why so many of Jesus’ parables are about hiddenness, seeking, and finding.

 

 


Another Reflection from our Community

This Sunday the Gospel includes more parables that tell us that the Kingdom is here, and the Kingdom is coming. In the first parable, weeds try to choke out the wheat, and the sower does not get rid of the weeds right away. Uprooting them too early might damage some of the wheat. Besides, weeds are allowed some time to change their ways. In the end, the weeds will get separated out and thrown away. In the second parable, the mustard seed, one of the smallest seeds, grows into a mighty tree. The seed may be small but is full of amazing potential when allowed to grow. The third parable speaks of adding yeast to bread to make it rise. Yeast is the essential ingredient that transforms the bread. This speaks to the remarkable change that is possible in a community of Jesus’ followers. We are transformed by God’s word into a living Kingdom. These three parables are about something undesirable or unwanted being mixed in with something that is apparently good, and Jesus presents them as descriptions of what the Kingdom of heaven is like. The workers need to live with both the wheat and the weeds and leave the task of judgment to God. Jesus offers this teaching to console and encourage his followers. Their tasks as workers, is to sow goodness. The task of destroying evil is God’s. This reflects Jesus’ highly inclusive understanding of the community of the Kingdom. The Kingdom is like a great net of God’s grace thrown out over humanity without first asking who was worthy and who was unworthy to be included. In the struggle to live a good and meaningful life, we can sometimes be our own worst enemy in being far too harsh and unforgiving. Christianity has a long history of intolerance, like the Inquisition, showing the tragedy and folly of being more zealous to root out evil than to encourage good. And at times the various interpretations and approaches of the Scriptures have helped or hindered the Church over the centuries. The scriptures are living and continue to speak to us according to where we are, what is going on, and how receptive our hearts are to its transformative powers. Given that Jesus, Mary, and the disciples are all recorded in the New Testament as reading, meditating on, or hearing the scriptures, we should be encouraged to sit with and study them. We are meant to ponder the Word of God. Vatican II encouraged us all to return to regular private reflection on the Bible. God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. This is the image that gives us hope.
Most of us have lived long enough to know that, despite our desires and hopes, our planning and hard work, we do not always get what we want. The good, the bad, the dirt and the treasure are never far from each other. For all our good intentions, the garden of our soul will always need a little weeding, our branches, a little pruning. Maybe we have read or watched the news and are asking “Where did these weeds come from? How did our world get in this shape? How did we get to this point?” One headline after another can make it feel like the world is going crazy. We want to know what happened and who is responsible. We want an explanation and someone we can blame, hold accountable, and even punish. That is a natural human response. Jesus, however, seems less interested in this approach. Our first challenge is to look at the weeds in our own fields, where do we have weeds growing among our wheat? Is it a weed of gossip, tribalism, selfish consumption, pride, racism, anger, apathy, or dark secrets? Jesus reminds us “For in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them.” The parable speaks of a weed that looks just like the wheat and intertwines with the roots of the wheat. The difference between the two is not always readily apparent. Sometimes the weeds are too big to be pulled, and their roots have intertwined with the roots of the good plants, and by pulling up one, you also uproot the other. Sometimes what you thought was a weed, is actually a good plant, and what you thought was a good plant was actually a weed. It seems the separation between the wheat and the weeds is not as clear cut or black and white as Facebook, the media, our politicians, and our personal opinions would often have us believe. Like those workers in the field, we may think it is our job to pull the weeds, to judge who is worthy to flourish in God’s Kingdom and who should be rooted out. But that is not our job, God will take care of removing the weeds in God’s timing. We are not the ones to make the judgment. “Let them grow together until the harvest,” says Jesus showing more interest in growth than in extermination. He is willing to wait and to be patient. If we are his followers, we too will wait and be patient amongst the weeds of our life. We are called to forgive the weeds, and to love the weeds. There is no place for revenge or vigilantism by word or by action, against another or against ourselves. Instead, Jesus commands love. Love your enemy. Love your neighbor. Love yourself. Love God. Simple to say, challenging to live. The Gospel is always a challenge to live out but maybe this is how the wheat disentangles its roots from the weeds and shows itself to be wheat and not weeds. We live in the “already-not yet” reality of Christ’s kingdom. The Kingdom has already broken into our world in the person of Jesus Christ and is already at work among us through the Holy Spirit. But the Kingdom has not yet reached its completion. The Kingdom is becoming, like a seed planted in a field. The Kingdom comes with limitless grace in the midst of an evil world. Our job is to offer that grace, to offer Christ, with the same kind of abundant generosity God has offered to us.

 

 


Profession of Faith

Let us together profess our faith:

I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,          
born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,

and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.

Amen.

 

 


Prayers of the Faithful

PRESIDER:
Animated by the call,
we lift up these prayers for our sister’s and brother’s around the world.
LECTOR:
For the Church:
May we clearly proclaim God’s loving welcome invitation to all people of all ages…
We pray to the Lord

Lord hear our prayer.

For those who possess any power:
May they break down barriers enabling us to see where racism and bigotry have taken root in our society, that we may create lasting equitable change…
We pray to the Lord

Lord hear our prayer.

For those hanging on to any judgement of others:
May they be set free of this debilitating bondage ready to spread God’s love to all…
We pray to the Lord

Lord hear our prayer.

For the wisdom to be mindful of the poor, the young, and our future generations
as we make decisions for our daily living that directly affect our environment…
We pray to the Lord

Lord hear our prayer.

For those who are struggling with illness, pain, or chronic issues:
May they be made whole again by your goodness and those caring for them be strengthened and protected…
We pray to the Lord

Lord hear our prayer.

We remember our beloved dead…

(PAUSE)

May our mourning be turned into dancing as they rest in your loving embrace…
We pray to the Lord

Lord hear our prayer.

 

PRESIDER:
Compassionate God,
we are overwhelmed by your relentless love for us.
Help us to believe that we are, indeed, worthy of your love.
Show us how to reflect that love to others, especially those in most need of it.
May our words and our actions faithfully proclaim your love.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 


Closing Prayer

Good and gracious God,
your love for us is beyond all understanding.
Send your Spirit to help and guide us to continue to grow and bear fruit that will make a difference within our challenging world.
Help us to accept the nourishment that you offer and realize that we depend on one another.
Help us to consider how we interact with those around us and free us from judging others prematurely or unjustly,
as you are the true source of wisdom and justice.
Save us from anxieties, fear, insecurities, pride and jealously
and allow us to trust that each one of us is your beloved child worthy of the Kingdom.
United with our sisters and brothers everywhere,
together we pray in the words Jesus taught us:

Our Father,
who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done.
on earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours now and forever.

Amen.