THE "WEEDS" AND THE "WHEAT" AMONG US
Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds
16th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A
Superheroes. Nowadays, people are so into superheroes so much so that the movie industry is earning millions or even billions of dollars just to satisfy public demand. Though the profit might seem to dwindle a bit, still superhero movies continue to sell in the industry. But what is it with superheroes that people are so attracted to? One thing's for sure, it is POWER! 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.
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:
When I was in the Philippines, I heard a number of real life stories about taxi drivers who return a great amount of money to its rightful owner without asking for any reward. For a taxi driver who earns a very meager income each day as they brave daily traffic stress and anxieties, it is something worth noting. Are they simply doing this out nothing, or are they doing this because they are Christians and in their own Christian orientation, they believe that it is the right thing to do?
Simple but real stories of people, in a way, simplify the seemingly monumental task of Christian witnessing. A simple act of honesty could mean a lot to ordinary people. These true to 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) Unlike the superheroes that we look up to, we find power in our weakness. In our weakness, grace (supernatural help and power from God) abounds all the more! Let us therefore pray for the power coming from the Spirit and not from those made up by man’s imagination.