God's Love And Patience With Us
Saturday of Week 16 in Ordinary Time - Cycle I
Ex. 24:3-8 & Mt. 13: 24-30
We see how God ratified His covenant with His people in today's first reading. It was sealed when Moses sprinkled the blood of the sacrificed animals, on the altar which represented God, and then on the people. In this way God and His people were symbolically united. The covenant was a contract and the blood was the signatures which make a contract legal.
One big difference between a human contract and God's covenant is that a contract is binding by law and God's covenant is binding by love. Love, not law is the unifying force of the covenant.
We do not live under the old contract, as described in the reading, but under a new covenant established by Jesus Christ. It too has love as its binding force. The old covenant was sealed in the blood of animal sacrifices, but the new covenant is sealed in the Blood of Jesus Christ. The new is even more excellent than the old.
The Blood of Jesus present on the altar of God is not sprinkled upon us. Rather we are invited to drink of this Blood of Christ from the chalice. God our Father offers us the chalice as a means of renewing His covenant of love with us. If we receive the Blood of Christ today we should in faith see that our act is a response to God's love, a real way of affirming again our covenant with God.
Baptism is God´s most beautiful and magnificent gift to us. This gift He has given us is something that we do not deserve. We were born with original sin and yet, out of His infinite goodness and mercy, He has chosen to nourish our barren field and offered it the Kingdom of Heaven. Through the life-giving waters of the sacrament of Baptism, He has taken our field that used to be wasteland and desert and made it flourish. He has sown wheat in our field so that it may yield an abundant harvest.
Through Baptism the Lord has grafted us into His family. There are times when we forget that Heaven is the goal of our lives. We are weak, and because of our weakness, at times we plant our field with weeds. It is true that Baptism washes away original sin but it leaves behind certain temporal consequences of sin, such as suffering, illness and death, and such frailties inherent in life which are evident as weaknesses of character. It also leaves us prone to evil, which Tradition calls concupiscence. Concupiscence ‘is left for us to wrestle with evil, but it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ.’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1264).
When we sin we plant weeds in our field where there should be only wheat. But the Lord has given us the graces of Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and time to let the good grain grow. He knows that all is not lost. Even though we have offended Him because of our sins, and have not conquered our tendency to sin, we still experience His love, and His mercy if we ask for it. He has not given up on us although it seems we may have often given up on ourselves. He has given us the gift of time for us to weed our field and the spiritual means to increase the good wheat that is within it, so that the harvest we bear may be fruitful and rich.
Lord, we thank You for the gift of Your mercy and for giving us the time to eradicate the weeds, our sins. Thank You for being patient with us, for loving us for who we are, Your children, and for encouraging us to continue to grow as we should.