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July 24th , 2005 A.D. -  Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Mt 13/44-52
Catholic Homilies
July 24th , 2005 A.D.

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Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Mt 13/44-52

Background:

Today’s parable is in all probability a “doubling” of last week’s parable. Matthew found both of them in the tradition with which he was working. They were sufficiently different for him to include both  in his Gospel. See last week’s background for an explanation.  The Mustard Seed story is an addition in this version. It turns out to be an accurate prediction. Sociologist Rodney Stark in a recent study argues that there were only a thousand Christians at the end of the first century, six million at the beginning of the third and thirty million(half the Roman empire) by 350. Constantine’s conversion, he suggests was a result of the growth of Christianity, not its cause.

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Once upon a time there was an eighth grade football team that inherited a tradition of losing almost all the games of a season. The other parishes in the league provided uniforms, a coaching staff, even summer training. The kids from St. Useless didn’t have a coach or uniforms or much parental support. They were a ragtag band of talented but untrained kids. Then one day a young man watched them stumble through practice. Can I help? he asked them. The team was ready to accept help from anyone. You guys are the best he said. There’s no reason you can’t win the conference. But you have to practice, be confident of yourself, and be good friends. No more fighting among the team or with me if I’m going to be your unofficial coach. The kids agreed. The first thing the coach taught them was how be friends and play together with one another. Then he told them practice after practice how good they were. Finally he made them work, work, work. You know what happened. They went undefeated won the conference. He made us believe in ourselves. The kids said. The next year the parents hired a “real coach” and the team finished last.

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