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July 17th , 2005 A.D. -  Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary time Matt 13/24-33
Catholic Homilies
July 17th , 2005 A.D.

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Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary time Matt 13/24-33

Background:

Matt assembles this week and next week collections of parables, probably from pre-existing sources. Jesus used parables as frequently as GK Chesterton and Oscar Wilde used paradoxes. He was in fact an itinerant story teller which explains in part why so many  people followed him. People love stories. Parables are like a single rifle shot. They have one point and one point only. They are not allegories, stories in which everything has a meaning. Thus the allegorical interpretation of today’s parable was probably added by a later author (before the composition of the Gospel, however). Tellers of parables usually refuse to explain what there one shot story means, because in the explanation some of the narrative power is lost. However, the main point of todays story is that despite all obstacle, the kingdom of God will survive and flourish.

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One upon a time a battered parish priest approached his bishop. I want to retire, he said. You’re not old enough to retire. Yeah, but I’m worn out. My laity are fighting one another, my young people don’t come to Church. My parish Council has no guts. My teenagers drink too much. My staff are in constant conflict.  A couple of women are trying to take over the parish. Men can’t stand the tension. My collections are down. Spies are reporting me to you every week. Grammar school kids are breaking windows and writing graffiti. I receive anonymous hate mail every day. The bishop sighed loudly, that West of Ireland sigh which suggests the advent of a serious asthmas attack. Let me tell  you about my problems. The two men sat in silence for a few minutes after they exchanged woes. Well, said the bishop, congratulations on having a lively parish. It’s still alive and kicking. The kingdom of God is still, as the woman from County Clare once said, about a foot above your head. So the pastor went home and did not resign.

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