July 20, 2008

Weeds or Wheat?

My friends,

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus gives us one answer to the often-asked question of evil in the world. If we have a loving God, why are there bad people among us?

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.” (Matt 13:29-30)
If all of the evil people in even one town were just gone tomorrow, would the good people be okay? What if the bad people included the only doctors or teachers or policemen? Can we be sure that removing the weeds wouldn't cripple our society and ultimately hurt good people?

But put that rather shallow argument aside. Remember that humanity is fallen and sinful. What if the bad people included most of us? Or all of us? Can we be sure, even, that we are not among the weeds ourselves?

Unlike plants, we have the God-given capacity to change - to think and choose something better. We can stop being the weeds and become the wheat. We can help other weeds become the wheat as well, so when it is time for harvest, there is a plentiful and glorious crop to be gathered.

We cannot tell the state of each other's souls, and only guess as best we can - from our own conscious and the grace of God - the state of our own. We should thank God for His mercy and for whatever time we have to grow into a healthy, faithful person.

Pray from today's psalm: "You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and fidelity. Turn toward me, and have pity on me; give your strength to your servant." (Ps 86:15-16)

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