Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Gospel for 31 July, St. Ignatius Loyola, SJ, priest, religious founder.

Matthew 13: 36-43
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.”

Scholars would say that today’s gospel is probably not an example of the ipsissima verba, i.e., the very words of Jesus, but rather a reflection on the part of the evangelist about the parable of the weeds and the wheat. The explanation of the parable reminds us that there was still the expectation that Jesus would return soon, but that it was giving way to an understanding that the return of Christ was going to take a little longer than originally expected. We also see that the Church has become the place where the Kingdom of God that Jesus preached is located. The original parable showed that good and evil coexist in the world. That coexistence will continue until God decides that time is up. It is more important for us to bear fruit of holiness than to uproot evil in everyone, everywhere.

Today is the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. Ignatius was a soldier who got religion when he was recuperating from battle wounds. He gathered followers into his order, and placed them at the service of the Church. They became the shock-troops of the Counter-Reformation, and probably did a lot of uprooting evil in everyone and everywhere. The collect for the day:

Father, you gave St. Ignatius of Loyola to your Church to bring greater glory to your name. May we follow his example on earth and share the crown of life in heaven. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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