Fr. Jose Poch

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


We truly live in a world that is sometimes crazy. The news this week is saturated with the criminal acts (according to the news an anti-Muslim act) of a deranged man in Norway. Some newspapers have labeled him a Christian, but the reality is that there is nothing of the character of Jesus Christ in this man or in his actions. Over ninety people killed, many others wounded and an entire country in shock and mourning, not very different from the tragedy we experienced on 9/11. In London, we hear of the death of Amy Winehouse possibly due to an overdose of drugs and alcohol although the results of the autopsy are inconclusive and in California the arrest of two men and a woman for the brutal beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow.

What I want to ask you this morning is how do the Parables of the Kingdom of heaven in Chapter 13 of Matthew, from which I have been teaching these last three Sundays, apply or shed light on the condition of our society, our culture and our world? There are seven parables in this chapter, the Parable of the Four Types of Soils, the Wheat and the Tares (weed), the Mustard Seeds, The Leaven in the Dough, the Hidden Treasure, the Pearl of Great value and the Dragnet.

One thing is certain in all of these parables, the Kingdom of heaven is present already in this world, it had a very humble, small and hardly noticeable beginning, the simple birth of a Baby in a manger in Bethlehem of Judea. This Kingdom has been growing and transforming culture and society gradually yet powerfully.  But we must also recognize that when the Kingdom of God grows in our world, then the kingdom of darkness and evil and of everything that is contrary to God’s will and direction will oppose it, attack it and cause destruction. This is also evident in several of the parables. One of the most important things we can glean from these parables is that God is always in control and at the end of time, He will bring about a separation of the wheat from the tares and of the fish that are acceptable from those that are not. There are many other parables that bring out this same message, such as the Parable on the Wedding Feast, the Ten Virgins, the Sheep and the Goats, etc.

The Kingdom of heaven is present now, today, and is available to all who respond to Jesus’ invitation in faith and who follow Him in obedience and yet in the future the fullness of its presence, that is promised in Scripture and present in the parables I have been discussing, will be fully realized 

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Thursday, July 7, 2011


It is clear when we read the Gospels and in this case the Gospel of Matthew that Jesus spent a great deal of His time meeting the needs of many and setting free those who carried very heavy burdens. Someone very wisely taught me the profound truth that for Jesus ministry was the person in front of Him. I invite you to look briefly with me at how many people Jesus unburdened of some heavy load in chapter 9 of Matthew and also how many would not allow Him to unburden them (scribes and Pharisees). He healed a paralytic, He saved tax collectors and sinners, He resurrected a dead girl and returned her to her father, He healed a woman who had suffered from a blood disease of some sort, He healed two blind men and cast out a demon from an individual. These are only some of the examples of the cumbersome load that Jesus delivered people from. When you read Matthew 9:35-10:1 even Jesus recognized that He needed help and He asks His disciples to pray for more laborers for the harvest. He then commissions His disciples and gives them the power to meet the needs of a hurting world.

Matthew 9:36 and 11:28 are intimately connected and you should reference them to each other in your Bible. In the former verse Jesus is moved to compassion when He sees the multitudes weary, harassed, stressed and scattered and in the latter verse, although He has just sent His disciples out into the cities and villages as his emissaries of healing and restoration, He still invites all who are weary, stressed, labored and heavy laden to continue coming to Him to find rest. The promised rest is available to us today and becomes our portion through the taking on of His yoke and learning from Him who is gentle and lowly of heart. He says that His yoke is easy and His burden light.

What do these words of Jesus mean to us today? What is Jesus’ yoke and how do we take it upon ourselves with the expectation of rest for our souls? What does Jesus intend to communicate through the analogy of the yoke?

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