Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They shared everything. They talked about everything. They kept no secrets from each other, except that the little old woman had a shoe box on top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open it or ask her about it.
All those years, he never thought about the box, until one day the woman got very sick and the doctor said she wouldn’t recover anymore. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000.He asked her about the contents. “When we were to be married,” she said, “my grandmother told me that the secret for a happy marriage was never to argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.”
The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back his tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times throughout their life. He almost burst with happiness. “Honey,” he said, “that explains the dolls, but what about the money? Where did it come from?” “Oh,” she said, “that’s the money I made from selling the dolls” (author unknown).
A beautiful lesson and story for married couples and for everyone. Yes, it can be done. However, many people really never learn, whether the easy way or the hard way. St. Paul reminds us that anger does not bring out the righteousness of God. From the story we also learn a lot how much God loves His people above all things. He has been very patient and merciful towards His people He calls “My beloved.” He has been doing many things, different things just to show them that He loves them.
So we learn a few lessons from the readings:
1. God’s mastery of all things makes Him lenient to all. If He would strictly adhere to His justice without love, mercy and leniency, nobody would live, as any sin is always a transgression of God’s commands; and the punishment for a transgression against God is alienation and death.
2. Because God is the master of might, He judges with clemency. St. John proclaims,
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life (3:16).
Mercy is God’s quality. It accompanies His justice so that man can also love his creator, his Redeemer and his God.
3. God gives His children good ground for hope that He permits repentance for sins. Hope is the virtue that animates man. Without hope, man will lose his mind in the midst of fears in this world. Without hope, man will lose heart in the midst of loneliness and emptiness in seeking the greater things in this world. And despite man’s sinfulness, God allows repentance so that man can learn and grow in his relationship with others, and constantly seek the things of heaven.
The Gospel shows us the following:
1. The sower/master knows there are enemies, but He allows them to exist with the good ones, hoping that they would see the good that others do and learn from them.
2. The sower is tolerant of the presence of enemies, only to show his capacity to sustain the good ones and make them prosper in the land with His abundant blessings, and punish the evil ones.
3. The sower will reap what he has sown. At harvest time the sower will burn the weeds and keep the wheat in his barn. Similarly, God will alienate and cast away the evildoers to eternal punishment, and the good He will bring to everlasting life.
Let us learn from the patience and mercy of God, and understand that
the Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness… [and] intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will (Rom 8:26-27).