Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 20, 2014
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. (Romans 8:26)
Do you ever feel like the world is against you? You may experience health issues, work-related stresses, financial issues, family angst, or any other problem. In these times, you might feel overwhelmed, burdened, or weak. You might ask, “Why me?”
Do you ever get frustrated with the violence and war, hunger and poverty in the world? You are saddened by news reports of refugees fleeing their war-ravaged homelands or people dying in natural disasters. You wonder, “What can I ever do to make a difference?”
In situations like these, consider yourself like the man whose enemy sowed weeds in his field. You try to plant good seeds in the world with acts of kindness and with charitable acts and compassion, yet bad things continue to happen. With this parable, Jesus reminds us that the kingdom of heaven exists alongside and in spite of the weeds in our world.
When the world overwhelms us with the weeds of negativity and pain, we do feel inadequate, unable to make a difference. In his letter to the Romans, Saint Paul reminds us that even when we feel overwhelmed and weak and don’t know what or how to pray, the Spirit will intercede on our behalf “with inexpressible groanings.” (Rom 8:26) The Spirit knows our needs and desires, so that even when we are feeling overwhelmed and just don’t know where to turn, the Spirit is ready and willing to guide us. Through prayer, spending time conversing with God, God will show us the way.
With this knowledge, we have hope. Despite the weeds in our world and in our lives, our faith helps us to remember that Christ Jesus is with us always. Heaven exists alongside and in spite of the evils in our world. Good things are happening. The Spirit of Christ moves in us, as individuals and as a community of faith, to bring forth good fruit in the midst of the weeds.
While we may feel weak and inadequate on our own, when we put our hope in Christ Jesus, he will join his Spirit to ours to bring forth good fruit despite the weeds of the world.
Question for Reflection/Discussion: What weakness in your life can the Holy Spirit help you to overcome this week?