16th Sunday Ordinary Time
Q328: Weeds can be damaging; why does the Owner in the Gospel story (Mt 24-30) let them remain until the wheat harvest? That is exactly where our focus must be: on the Owner. This is his farm; this is his crop; he sowed the seed; ask yourself: why is he so patient with the weeds?
I think it is true that each one of us have been both “weeds” and “good wheat” during our lifetime. When we listen to God’s gospel word that is sown in our hearts, and then act upon it, we bear good fruit. But when we stray from God’s word or ignore it, we inevitably sin, and we become as useless as “weeds.” But thank God for his patience!! He does not treat us as “weeds” to be destroyed, as we deserve, but patiently waits for us to repent, to “change” back into wheat. Over and over he gives us chance after chance to amend our lives. The Church is for sinners, and we all acknowledge that we are sinners. Or, do we? Perhaps we instead “rank” ourselves on a scale of goodness that is always weighed in our favor? When we tend to “judge” others in this world, with a “proud” stance of moral superiority, it can be good and very humbling to remember the many times that we, too, were obviously “weeds” that deserved to be eradicated. We need to hold up our “mirror of personal history” to keep the record straight, and our hearts open. Did you ever consider that simply by your daily good example, you can be a turning point for someone else, a “seed” that can take root in their hearts and result in interior change? Maybe we need to “hug a weed,” i.e., show the morally marginalized that they are still loved as one of God’s creation – an acknowledgment that no matter how bad they have been, they are “brother” or “sister” to us. There is always a chance to “turn back,” before the final harvest – thanks to a patient harvester.
KNOW YOUR CATECHISM! The Church “clasps sinners to her bosom” and is always herself in need of purification; all members must acknowledge that they are sinners (CCC#827). In everyone, the “weeds of sin” will still be mixed with the “good wheat of the Gospel” until the end of time (ibid.). Because of our weakened human nature, the struggle of conversion will be a daily effort until the day of our death (CCC#1426).
Q485: What can I do to counter the “enemy” sowing “weeds” in my own field? (Matthew 13:24-30)
These are difficult times for ourselves and our children; our Christian values are under serious attack every single day – not just in secret at night, but in broad daylight! The “weeds” are trying to choke out the “wheat” and convert everything to a weed patch. Our society is clearly slipping farther and farther away from “the Way” of the Lord; in fact, we permit our politicians to ignore God completely. We are permitting our political system to attack the family structure (God’s “domestic family” consists of man, woman, and children, not homosexual relationships). Many are returning to pagan Epicurean principles, by killing unborn babies to preserve their alleged “right” to have unlimited sensual pleasures. Some people even think they are still “Christian” by fighting for abortion rights, mercy killing, and other heinous crimes against humanity and against God.
Make no mistake, this is a war for souls, not just a little skirmish! It calls for an all out effort by you to pass on and defend God-given standards of morality. Jesus has shown us “the Way” to live, and empowered his mission to the Apostles, who passed on the same mission to the Bishops. By our baptism and confirmation, we too are called to participate in this same mission, remaining faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ and his Church. Without this core faithfulness to God – our recognition that we depend upon him – no progress can be made. Not only the voting booth is involved; it really begins with frequent prayer every single day.
If you are making a serious effort to do something, then you can also draw on the strength mentioned in the Second Reading today (Romans 8:26-27): our God will not let us down! We can be patient, even when surrounded with weeds, because the Holy Spirit intercedes for us exactly as God himself wills! Consider this: if you remain silent, and misuse not only the voting booth but daily opportunities in the workplace and family, you have indeed become a “weed.” Today’s gospel tells you the destiny of weeds.
KNOW YOUR CATECHISM! Each one of us has the weeds of sin mixed with our good wheat; because of that, the Church constantly calls us to the path of penance and renewal (CCC #827). Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Church has the power to free us from the prison of the weed-patch, if we ask humbly.
The Righteous Must be Kind
Today's Gospel parable about the wheat and the weeds is often seen in terms of God's final punishment for the wicked. But there is also another side to it which is highlighted by the first reading from the Book of Wisdom. It tells us that God has absolute power to destroy but chooses to be merciful. We are more like the workers in the parable who want to root out the weeds from the crop right away, even though it may be difficult to tell which is which in the early stages of growth. The landowner is more like God, patient and moderate: "Give them time." For us everything seems crystal clear, black and white, but maybe God sees more shades of gray than we do. The parable reminds us to imitate God's patience when we are faced with sinners in the church or with the presence of weakness and sin in our own lives.
Lord when we are wrong make us willing to change and when we are right make us easier to live with.