Saturday, July 19, 2014

07-20-2014 -- Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

July  20, 2014 - Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

We live in a fallen world. There is evil, terror all around us.

Those evils that are close to home:
The hurt of racism and abuse, sickness, disease and death.

And those evils that are farther away:
War, genocide, terrorism.

Our television news programs and our print media never let us go unaware of the latest tragedy, crime, school shooting, holocaust.

With this evil all around us, we can get lost among the weeds.
It’s easy to loose our way, to lose our perspective.

Evil can be hard to resist. We prefer to give in. We enjoy violence and immorality in our movies and others forms of entertainment.

We give in. We surrender our lives to the power of evil. And then, when something bad happens, we ask, “Why?” “Why do bad things happen? Why is there evil in the world?”

If God is so good, why does he allow this? Why do people abuse children? Who do people sell drugs to teenagers?

Why do people hurt one another with gossip and insulting words? Why do young people get sick and die? Why do the good suffer with the guilty?

Why is there evil in the world?

The first parable in today’s gospel gives us an insight. Jesus explains why there are weeds growing among the wheat.

While everyone was sleeping, the enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat. That’s why there are weeds growing among the wheat.

The word Jesus uses for weeds is darnel (darn-ELL). Darnel is a poisonous weed. In its early stages it looks almost exactly like wheat.

But in the end, ripe darnel will sicken or kill you if you eat it. Wheat, on the other hand, will strengthen you.

Jesus goes on to explain that the weeds are bad people, unrepentant sinners, those who have not turned from their evil ways, people who give first priority to themselves, people who use others for their own advancement or pleasure.

The wheat are righteous people, those who resist the seductions of evil, people who repent of their sins, people who battle against selfishness and follow Jesus Christ.

Our God, in giving us free will, allows good and evil to co-exist side by side.

So can we ask a better question? Instead of asking, “Why is there evil in the world?” shouldn’t we ask, “How do I respond to evil in the world?”

If we are honest with ourselves and with our God, we find that good and evil co-exist within us.

So what do we do about those weeds? We better be careful.

If we start trying to pull up the weeds, we run the risk of pulling up the wheat as well.

Maybe we are called to make a leap of faith.

Maybe the only way to respond to incredible evil is to believe,
to really believe that our acts of kindness, our virtue, our charity, our good deeds really do make a difference.

To really believe that the goodness within us lights up the darkness and overcomes it, to really believe that good wins out over evil in the end.

We each have a responsibility to grow the wheat that is sown within us and to invite the Holy Spirit to break the power of the weeds in and among us.

The Lord allows the good and the bad to co-exist among us,
side by side, but only for now.

The weeds will end up in the fiery furnace where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

The wheat will be harvested into the joy of eternal life.

The weeds and the wheat will eventually be separated, but not by us. That’s not our responsibility.

The Lord will separate the weeds from the wheat and make all things right and just.

Yes, there is incredible evil in the world, but we shouldn’t be surprised when we see just how much bigger the stack of wheat is.

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