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The Perspective of Justice
16th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Year A
July 23, 2023
Gerald Darring
An Inclusive Church

Matthew is very concerned in his gospel with the unity of the Christian community. He does not envision the Church as an exclusionary organization, but rather as an inclusive community which is guided by the spirit of the parable of the weeds.

  “Let them grow together until harvest” (Gospel): since its earliest days, the Church has preferred to tolerate different levels of commitment and holiness. Such an attitude is in line with the “wisdom” of the Hebrew Scriptures, which informs us that “those who are righteous must be kind; and you gave your children reason to hope that you would allow them to repent for their sins.” (First Reading)

This attitude of acceptance is also in line with the revelation of God “as merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness.”

An inclusive Church that is kind and lenient toward its own members and toward everyone else should be an inspiration to a divided world that has a tendency to judge harshly, to be quick to anger, and to uproot weeds even at the cost of damage to the good plants.

By virtue of her mission to shed on the whole world the radiance of the gospel message, and to unify under one Spirit all men of whatever nation, race, or culture, the Church stands forth as a sign of that brotherliness which allows honest dialogue and invigorates it.

Such a mission requires in the first place that we foster within the Church herself mutual esteem, reverence, and harmony, through the full recognition of lawful diversity.

Vatican II, Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, 1965:92.

Gerald Darring

Now published in book form, To Love and Serve: Lectionary Based Meditations, by Gerald Darring This entire three year cycle is available at

Art by Martin Erspamer, OSB
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year (A, B, and C). This art may be reproduced only by parishes who purchase the collection in book or CD-ROM form. For more information go