“The church must suffer for speaking the truth, for pointing out sin, for uprooting sin. No one wants to have a sore spot touched, and therefore a society with so many sores twitches when someone has the courage to touch it and say: “You have to treat that. You have to get rid of that. Believe in Christ. Be converted.” - Archbishop Oscar Romero
(Gospel text: 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."
A once-popular bumper sticker read: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” The saying referred to many things: government corruption, unjust wars, neglect of the marginalized. It was an attempt to stir people into action. And that’s a good thing if we’re being motivated by humility and love. It’s not so good if we’re motivated by harsh anger. That only leads us to destroy rather than create, to tear down rather than build up.
As we see in this parable, God is the only sure judge between right and wrong - not the media, not society, and certainly not us. Seeing all of creation from beginning to end, he alone is able to sort everything out with perfect justice. He alone can tell all the “good seed” from the “weeds.” So we don’t need to go around uprooting every weed we think we spot in his garden. Judgment is God’s job, not ours!
Unfortunately, we all have the capacity to appoint ourselves as judge, jury, and executioner and sometimes with disastrous consequences. Who knows if the person we just pounced on wasn’t on the verge of a spiritual breakthrough? We may have just pushed him or her farther away from God instead of closer to him. More likely than not, by misjudging someone we have also planted weeds of pride, anger, and isolation in our own hearts. This is why Jesus warns us that the measure we give to other people really does become the measure we will get back (Matthew 7:2).
If we ask the Holy Spirit for His wisdom, patience, and understanding and apply those virtues to those who have wounded us or whose views may offend us, we will see the greatest results. Jesus showed mercy to the people who nailed him to the cross. He can teach us to have that same kind of mercy, that same kind of patience, and that same kind of hope and trust.
If we can treat every person as a child of God, someone whom Jesus loved enough to die for, our words will bring healing and light instead of hurt. As long as we are planting seeds of love, we can be sure of a good harvest.
The secret to this state of being is outside ourselves ironically. Without God, to love in this way described above is absolutely impossible. That is why Jesus gave us His Church, the Sacraments, and His Mother. Only through grace can we see God in everyone and if we can see Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, we can see Jesus in our neighbor and truly love them.
There simply is no other way!