16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A (2023)

Mass Readings for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

  • First ReadingWisdom 12:13, 16-19: “And you taught your people, by these deeds, that those who are just must be kind; and you gave your children good ground for hope that you would permit repentance for their sins.”
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 86: “Lord, you are good and forgiving.”
  • Second ReadingRomans 8:26-27: “And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.”
  • GospelMatthew 13:24-43: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.”

Themes for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

The readings for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A are focused on the Kingdom of God. The first reading reminds us that God desires justice and has shown us the way of kindness. The second reading tells us that the Spirit aids us in our weakness. And in the gospel Jesus gives us several parables related to the Kingdom of God, including the parable of the weeds in the wheat, the parable of the mustard seed, and the parable of the yeast.

  • Kingdom of God
  • Justice
  • Being leaven

See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A.

Resources for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Kingdoms Game

The goal of this teambuilding game is to form kingdoms. The largest kingdom wins! All you need are materials to make a list so it is super easy. This could be used as a youth group game or even a middle school VBS game.

Pretzel Prayer and Recipe

Makes some pretzels to show how yeast leavens dough! There is also a prayer to go with the pretzels.

Homilies and Reflections for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Wheat, Seed, and Leaven

From Bishop Robert Barron. How rich and inexhaustible in meaning are these three parables! Take some time to read and contemplate these parables in light of your own suffering and faith as we seek together the Kingdom of God.

Of Wheat and Weeds

From Scott Hahn. Each of these parables describes the emergence of the kingdom of God from the seeds sown by His works and preaching. The kingdom’s growth is hidden—like the working of yeast in bread; it’s improbable, unexpected—as in the way the tall mustard tree grows from the smallest of seeds.

How Strange Is the Power of God

Also from Bishop Barron. What a privilege we have this weekend to hear from the book of Wisdom. Scholars contend that this is the last book written in the Old Testament, dating from around the time of Jesus. It is a collection of sayings and aphorisms, all testifying to the multivalent truth at the heart of biblical revelation.

Growing the Kingdom

Jeff Cavins discusses the significance of the parables of the weeds in the wheat, and the mustard seed.

More Thoughts for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Parables call us to think differently and change our behavior. If we are not willing to change, we will not hear the message of the parable. Or we will think it does not apply to us because we are already “doing it right.”

So when we hear the parable of the wheat and the weeds, we might tend to think of ourselves as the wheat. But if we look at ourselves honestly, we will know that we have both wheat and weeds in our hearts.

The parable does not mean we should wait and do nothing and just let the weeds grow. It means we must protect the wheat in our lives and let the weeds be destroyed. That way they will not choke out the good things growing in us.

Reflection Questions for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

  • What is the wheat in my life right now?
  • What weeds are growing in my heart?
  • How do my wheat and weeds impact the communities I belong to?

Quotes and Social Media Graphics for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.

Every kind of material or spiritual poverty, every form of discrimination against our brothers and sisters, comes from turning our backs on God and His love.

Pope Francis

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