(Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Wisdom 12:13-19; Romans 8:26-27; Matthew 13:24-43)
Today’s readings are a veritable treasure trove of La Salette connections.
In Wisdom: God has care of all; he has not condemned unjustly; he is master of might, but judges with clemency; he has given his children the possibility of repentance.
Mary asked the children, “Do you say your prayers well?” They did not; but they had never been to catechism and had not learned to pray properly. Paul writes to the Romans, “We do not know how to pray as we ought.” The Spirit, therefore, takes over, as it were, and God reads what is in our hearts.
The Gospel speaks not only of seeds—a recurring image in the parables that we find also in the Message of La Salette—but of God’s patience with us. There comes, however, a time of harvest; patience then comes to an end. Our Lady speaks not only of ruined harvests past and future, but of the arm of her Son. Jesus also uses a frightful image: the weeds will be cast into the fire. But this is followed by a wonderful image: “Then shall the righteous shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father,” while the Beautiful Lady evokes a vision of heaps of wheat and self-sown potatoes.
The parables of the mustard seed and the measure of yeast have nothing fearsome about them. The seed and yeast just take their natural course to grow and expand. This is what is the Kingdom of heaven is like.
Jesus came to lead his people into that Kingdom, “an eternal and universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace” (Preface for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe).
The Blessed Virgin came to La Salette to lead her people back into that Kingdom. They had not followed the natural course of faith; that seed, instead of growing, had withered; that yeast had somehow lost its power to permeate their lives.
But all is not lost. “The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness.” The unrighteous can be restored to righteousness. It is almost as though the weeds can be transformed to wheat, impossible in nature, but eminently possible by grace.