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The "Weeds" and the "Wheat" among us.
Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds
16th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A
If you are to choose only one from among these power potions, which would you choose? Potion 1: Invisibility; Potion 2: X-ray Vision; Potion 3: Immortality; and Potion 4: Teleportation. If you are to ask me, I will choose number 4. Why? Because simply I love to travel and such power would allow me to go to places whenever I want … for FREE!
Speaking of power, nowadays, people are so into superhero movies so much so that the movie industry is earning millions or even billions of dollars just to satisfy public demand. And what attracts us to those movies is something that we yearn for. Something which we thought, we might not have! As people in these trying times try so hard to cope with daily challenges, they too, realize that they are running out of power. People are getting desperate to such an extent that they resort to superheroes as a form of escape.
But, power is a gift and in order for us to earn that gift, we have to work for it. To earn that gift takes time … to earn that gift takes patience! The parables we hear this Sunday speak about such gift. Jesus invites us to understand discipleship as gift, which gives us the power to attain our ultimate goal to establish the Kingdom of God. Three points from our readings this Sunday:
1. We need to be patient with ourselves. Our second reading reminds us that the Spirit of God will empower us in our weaknesses. At times when we are confronted with too much stress, we feel so down that we become unproductive and that our weaknesses overpower us. The reading actually assures us that the Spirit will always intercede for us in order that we may succeed. Patience is a gift from the Spirit and much more, it is also a virtue – a good act done repetitively as one endures life’s trials and difficulties.
A woman dreamed one night that she walked into a brand new shop. Much to her surprise, she found God working behind the counter. She asked God, "What do you sell here?" "Everything your heart desires," God replied. It was incredible. She was talking face to face with God. "I want peace of mind and love and happiness and wisdom and freedom from fear," she told God. Then almost as an afterthought she added, "not just for me, but for everyone on earth." God smiled, "I think you've got me wrong, my dear. We don't sell fruits here. Only seeds." (Anthony De Mello, S. J., in “Taking Flight”)
2. We need to be patient as we deal with people around us. The man who sowed good seed showed great patience by allowing the weeds to grow with the wheat. In this Gospel, Jesus teaches us that we too must be patient with the way we treat the “weeds” in our society and do everything in our power to lead them back to the right road to heaven through witnessing and constant prayer for conversion.
We heard of interesting people like St. Paul, who was struck by a blinding light which led to his conversion; and St. Augustine, who through his mother’s prayer, was converted and then becomes one of the greatest doctors of the Church. What do they have in common? Patience! It took St. Paul countless persecution of Christians before he became an apostle of Christ; and an unceasing prayer of St. Monica (Augustine’s mother) for Augustine to reach fuller satisfaction in God as he said in his autobiography, “Confessions,” “My heart is restless until it rests in thee.”
How patient are we with one another? With family members? With co-workers? With horrible bosses? With fellow parishioners? With people we work with in Church?
3. Finally, we need to grow up as healthy wheat as we let Jesus take care of the weeds. Our acts of charity, kindness and mercy and selfless service can prompt the “weeds” in our society to look into their lives with reflection and inspire them to change from being a weed to becoming healthy wheat.
Last week, I have emphasized the importance of preaching which rules FIRST among our basic roles as Catholics. Let me add to that by emphasizing that the best way of preaching is preaching by example or in other words “Christian witnessing.” Evangelii Nuntiandi clearly states, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses." But what does it take to be a Christian witness? Let me illustrate:
Beset with the Uber and Grab hullabaloo, I had my share of experience with the service. One evening, I found a cellphone left at the passenger’s seat. I kept the phone with the intent of returning it to it’s rightful owner. The next day when I woke up, upon turning on the phone, there was a text message which said, “Makarma ka sana!” or “Karma is inevitable!” I contacted its owner and sought for verification or ID from the phone and he told me to check its photo app. Upon browsing the pictures, I realized that it was owned by the driver himself! And so, I asked him to come pick up the phone at the Church where he dropped me off that night. He came and I returned the phone to him and in exchange, he gave me a Red Ribbon cake!
These stories simplify the seemingly monumental task of Christian witnessing. A simple act of honesty could mean a lot to ordinary people. These true-life experiences could inspire the “weeds” among us to change their lives for the better. Do not mind how great the task is. In your own little way you can be a true Christian witness.
In these trying times we do need power: personal power, which is given by the Spirit; power that is earned when we deal patiently with people around us; and power as we try to grow up as healthy “wheat.” We might feel weak when we do this, but as St. Paul once puts it, “… I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong!” (2 Corinthians 12:10) Let us therefore pray for the power coming from the Spirit and not from those made up by man’s imagination.