July 23, 2017: Weeds and Wheat Side By Side
This Sunday's gospel contains another of Jesus' parables. It is about the householder instructing the servants to permit the weeds and wheat to grow together until harvest. Then the big separation will begin between the weeds and wheat. It poses a great challenge for us. We are inclined to quickly pull up the weeds and anything that looks like a weed. The "weeds" might be someone who thinks differently, doesn't see our viewpoint or share our values, or seems like a hopeless case. Jesus' point is: don't act too quickly; you might mistake the wheat for weeds; you never know how people might change; God can do tremendous acts of transformation. Be patient. Leave the judging up to God.
But there is a kind of weed-pulling that we can do. It has to do with the weediness within our own hearts. With God's guiding spirit we can discern what is of God and what is not of God. July 11 was the feast of St. Benedict. He lived in the 6th century and was a giant in Christian spirituality. In his Rule, or outline for Christian living, he talks about how within each of us there exists an evil fervor, a bitter spirit, which divides us form God and leads us away from God. There is also within us a good fervor, a good spirit, which sets us apart from evil inclinations and leads us toward God and eternal life. In the gift of Christian discernment we can judge, with divine inspiration, the difference between the two. We can choose to go in the direction of the good spirit, the positive spirit, the Holy Spirit.
The challenge put before us is to know the difference between knowing when to let the judging up to God and when to take responsibility for our own words and actions.