Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Weeds and the Wheat

First Reading: Ex 33:7-11; 34:5b-9, 28
Psalm: Ps 103:6-13 -- The Lord is kind and merciful
Gospel: Mt 13:36-43

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. - Matthew 13:41-42


A very common objection to Christianity goes something like this: "If God is so powerful, why doesn't He destroy evil immediately, or prevent it from harming us if He loves us?" There are variations all over, with some of the most vehement coming from those who refuse to believe that a loving God would let people go to Hell. After all, they argue, if He loved us, then He wouldn't punish us forever for the little grievances we cause.

In today's gospel reading, Jesus explains to us why suffering exists in our world. When humanity was made, we were put into a pristine place for growing; the Master had planted good seed in a good field(see Genesis 1:31). However, the Enemy crept in and sowed the weeds of his malice, bitterness and spite among us. The Master tells his servants not to uproot the weeds, because in doing so, it would destroy the wheat (us humans). They must grow together for a time, so that a good harvest is possible (the maximum number of people saved). The bad was not intended, but now that it is here, it cannot be removed without destroying much that could be saved.

Jesus tells us that the wheat is the children of God and that the weeds are the children of the Evil One. When one looks at wheat and weed, it is easy to note the differences of the mature plants from one another. That is to say, it is easy to tell human from devil and so they can easily be separated. It is also of note what a weed does: it takes water and nutrients from the surrounding plants, but does not provide fruit or grain. This will cause the wheat that it surrounds to wither, or not bear good grain. So too with us. If we allow the demons to surround us and intertwine their "roots" with ours, then we will be choked and wither; the chaff will not bear fruit and will be cast into the fire with the weeds.

Finally, it is important for us to note carefully the words of Jesus: "they will collect out of his Kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers." The first listed are the those who draw others into sin. Their punishment is also crystal clear. This is a warning to us. We must do all that we can not to lead others into sin, either through our actions or our witness. If we choose to be among the good wheat, we must not get comfortable with the weeds.
But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. - Matthew 18:6

Heavenly Father, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Thank you for your teachings, and for revealing to us your love. Lord, as we grow, help us to be as the good wheat, which resists the weeds and bears good fruit. Grant that we might not be lost among the weeds at the harvest, but be gathered back you you. We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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