When You Don't Understand Scripture

July 28, 2020  Tuesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time (Lectionary: 402)

Reading 1   JER 14:17-22

Let my eyes stream with tears
day and night, without rest,
Over the great destruction which overwhelms
the virgin daughter of my people,
over her incurable wound.
If I walk out into the field,
look! those slain by the sword;
If I enter the city,
look! those consumed by hunger.
Even the prophet and the priest
forage in a land they know not.

Have you cast Judah off completely?
Is Zion loathsome to you?
Why have you struck us a blow
that cannot be healed?
We wait for peace, to no avail;
for a time of healing, but terror comes instead.
We recognize, O LORD, our wickedness,
the guilt of our fathers;
that we have sinned against you.
For your name’s sake spurn us not,
disgrace not the throne of your glory;
remember your covenant with us, and break it not.
Among the nations’ idols is there any that gives rain?
Or can the mere heavens send showers?
Is it not you alone, O LORD,
our God, to whom we look?
You alone have done all these things.


Responsorial Psalm   79:8, 9, 11 AND 13

R.     (9)  For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R.     For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name’s sake.
R.     For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Let the prisoners’ sighing come before you;
with your great power free those doomed to death.
Then we, your people and the sheep of your pasture,
will give thanks to you forever;
through all generations we will declare your praise.
R.     For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   MT 13:36-43

Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house.
His disciples approached him and said,
“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the Evil One,
and the enemy who sows them is the Devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels,
and they will collect out of his Kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun
in the Kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”


By Maddie McElligott

I love looking at the disciples in the Gospels. I see so much of myself in them. They try very hard, but often miss the mark. Sometimes I’ll be reading Scripture and think, why would they do that?

But then I put myself in their shoes and realize I would do the exact same thing.

One of my favorite things about the disciples is that they were constantly learning. Even with all of their shortcomings, they let Jesus teach them. I really admire that.

Then, dismissing the crowds, he went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” -Matthew 13:36

Jesus had just laid out about five parables to his followers. The parable of the weeds in the field was just one of them. I always think that as disciples, they soaked in every word and just got it. How could they not, the Lord Himself was explaining it to them!

But this shows that it didn’t always click— sometimes even the disciples needed further explanation.

Time and time again I buy into the lie that to be a holy person, a good Catholic, I need to understand everything immediately. Whether it’s Church teaching, a Scripture verse or even my current circumstance, if I can’t wrap my mind around it, I get frustrated. I think that maybe if I was just a little bit smarter or if I prayed a little bit harder, it would make perfect sense.

But through this passage, God gently reminds me that it’s okay not to understand. Even those who walked with Jesus in the flesh and were able to hear His teachings directly from His lips, didn’t get it sometimes.

And look how the Lord responded.

He patiently explained the parable of the weeds again, in different words, in greater detail.

He responds in that same way to me when I come to Him, confused and discouraged. When I say to myself, “Am I really too dumb to get this?!”, Jesus says, “Maddie, just ask me.”

And I do. I tell Him that I don’t get it, that it doesn’t make sense to me. The beautiful thing is He already knows and is ready to explain it to me in a way I understand.

When they didn’t understand something, the disciples simply asked Jesus. And taking it a step further, they expected Him to respond.

Here’s to placing my questions and confusion on at the feet of God, with the hope and expectation that He’ll help me understand.


Maddie McElligott enjoys slow mornings, trendy food and exploring new cities. She would take the beach over the mountains any day. As a recent grad, she’s excited to start her career in marketing and can’t wait to see how the Lord is present in the workplace.

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