16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Wis 12:13, 16-19 / PS 85:5-6, 9-10, 15-16 / Rom 8:26 – 27 / Mt 13:24-43

     Are cell phones the new cigarettes? That is the question asked in an article that appeared in a popular online news website just a few weeks ago. The article goes on to argue that we are becoming addicted to our cell phones in a similar manner to how people become addicted to cigarettes and warns “an addiction to cigarettes threatens to do significant damage to one’s physical health. When it comes to Smartphone addiction, its our social health that we should worry about.”[1]

     As society becomes more and more addicted to technology we begin to expect the immediate results that come with that technology. Whether you agree with the author of that article or not I think most of us would agree that we live in a word that wants immediate results. All we have to do is turn on the TV to see ads for immediate weight loss diets, or an instant way to get rich; how many of us check Facebook, sports scores, emails ect. constantly on our phones.

     While these advances in technology can be good for society one of the downsides is the tendency that comes with it to make quick judgments. I don’t know about you but every time I go to a book store I end up buying a book whose cover first jumped out to me. I think all of us can have a tendency to judge a book by its cover, not only when we go to the bookstore but in all of our judgments even about people.

     Today’s Gospel reminds us that it is only God Himself who should judge the life of a person. The Good news that our first reading and responsorial psalm remind us of is that our God is a merciful God. Our God does not judge a book by its cover, rather he enters into a relationship with us and anyone who knows anything about relationships know they take time to develop. Our merciful Lord who awaits us to enter into a relationship with Him gives us our entire life, until the final harvest, the final judgment, to make amends and live in a right relationship with Him.

     If we are honest with ourselves all of us will admit that we have areas in our lives that need purification. Certainly we don’t want to put off working on purifying those less than perfect things from our life because we do not know the hour when our life will end but we do know that at the end of time, at the moment of judgment, the weeds will be burned for while God is merciful he is just. Yet as long as we are seriously working on those things in our lives, and frequenting the sacrament of Confession we should not loose sleep over our imperfections, rather we should trust the mercy of the Lord and be patient knowing that He will not simply judge us by our cover but He knows our struggles and our deepest desires.

     Hearing today’s Gospel I cannot help but think of the many great saints whose lives began as sinners. I think of the life of St. Paul, who killed Christians in his early life only to be converted and become the greatest evangelizer in the history of the Church. I think of the life of St. Augustine who documents the darkness of his life in his great work The Confessions. Given ample time and grace, St. Augustine, a man who spent years in a heretical sect, had a child out of wedlock, and caused mischief just to cause trouble had a conversion of heart and become one of the greatest defenders of the faith that our Church has ever had.

     Our God is not a God of immediate results, no He is a God of relationship. The only immediate result God grants is His forgiveness when we come to Him in sorrow in the sacrament of Confession. This week we are reminded that God judges us as a friend, he wants what is best for us and judges with clemency. He is always present stretching out to us offering to help us make up for what is lacking in our lives if only we are willing to turn away from the addiction of going to our cell phones and the internet for the quick fix and turn to him. Our Lord awaits us here to help us but asks us to do so in relationship not in instant gratification.

     While we live in a world that values instant gratification today we are called today to enter into relationship with the Lord, to slowly have our hearts converted towards the greatness He intends for us. Like all relationships it takes time but the merciful Lord is their every step of the way. As much as I like immediate gratification I am grateful for the mercy of God which is expressed in the slow process of entering into relationship with us. I am grateful that the master does not kill the weeds right away, after all if the weeds were pulled immediately before the harvest wouldn’t all of us have been thrown into the fire by now?

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-mahr/smartphones-the-new-cigar_b_5530818.html

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