Sunday, July 17, 2011

“A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible”

A man's nature runs either to herbs, or to weeds; therefore let him seasonably water the one, and destroy the other. ~Francis Bacon

(Matthew 13:24-30)
Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying:
“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man
who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came
and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.
The slaves of the householder came to him and said,
‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?
Where have the weeds come from?’
He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’
His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds
you might uproot the wheat along with them.
Let them grow together until harvest;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
“First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn.”

In reading this Gospel passage, I think we would like God to be “somewhat” more powerful, more “here and now”, that He would be more demanding and would not let these distressing forces in: «Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?» (Mt 13:28). In his last book Memory and Identity, John Paul II wrote this: «We patiently suffer God's mercy», that waits until the last moment to offer salvation to all souls, especially those more in need of His mercy («Let them grow together until harvest»: Mt 13:30). And, as He is the Lord of our lives and of all mankind, He pulls the threads of our existence, while respecting our freedom. And along with our afflictions we are supplied with overabundant grace to overcome them, to sanctify ourselves, to head towards Him, to be a permanent offertory, to make his Kingdom grow in the here and now.

Through each encounter, each event, Christ introduces us to His school of life. He comes to meet us and says: —But take heart! I have overcome the world. I am with you always, until the end of the age» (cf. Jn 16:33; Mt 28:20). He also tells us: —Don't judge; but, rather, do as I do, wait, trust, and pray.

The mustard seed will grow, but not if we personally cultivate the weeds of harshness, judgmental attitudes, and severity in our dealings with ourselves and others.

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