The Weeds and the Wheat

A meditation on the readings for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We are the wheat. From the beginning we were created “very good” (Gen 1:31). Let us consider different types of weeds that are among us. Some are extremely invasive. Some not so much. Some even have pretty flowers that may look good from afar. When we get closer we can see that they are weeds. They will eventually take over that which surrounds them.

There are a few ways to combat them. There are “shock and awe” herbicides — these not only kill the weeds, but they will kill everything around them. There are selective herbicides that are designed to kill only the weeds and nothing else around them. These herbicides indeed work, but sometimes there are unforeseen consequences to using them. Often these herbicides will poison the soil or water in the future, or they are poisonous to other types of life. The perfect selective herbicide has not been created. In fact, it cannot, because none of us can foresee the ultimate consequences of our selective killing.

There is another way — to sow more good seed. This is the way of the Lord. Sowing more good seed takes patience. It takes Love. It takes willingness to suffer with the weeds, and to suffer for those surrounded by them.

Ultimately, it takes Wisdom. Lady Wisdom. It takes trust in her Source.

True Wisdom is from the Lord. One who has her recognizes such. One who has her recognizes that the Lord is the only source of justice and is Master of all.

His power is manifest in weakness, or at least what the world deems as weakness.

His kindness, patience, and “lenience” (Wis 12:16) is hope for those who suffer amidst the weeds — those who may even feel attached to them.

All in His time. All will be well.

Listen to the Holy Father on the Weeds and the Wheat…and Patience.

We all bleed the same.

Moses’ prayer in the first reading on Trinity Sunday is as follows:

“If I find favor with you, O Lord, do come along in our company. This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as your own.”

We are indeed a stiff-necked people.  We don’t listen.  We wonder why there is violence.  We know not what we are doing. We are even violent in the face of violence, thinking that violence will stop if we can just “win.”  All the while we lose sight of what love really is.

Go and read the Gospels.  Read them. Pray with them, and read them some more.  Ask God for an open mind and heart.  Ask for the courage to love.  To really love.  Again, go and read the Gospels. Read Mark from start to finish. Then read John from start to finish.

How do we know what love is?  Love is what we see on a crucifix.  Love is Who we see on a crucifix. The Holy Father tweeted today: “There are two Christian responses to escape the spiral of violence: prayer and the gift of self.”

Love is a gift of self. Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 to really know the qualities of love.  True love bears fruit, namely, the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  St. Paul tells us what those are too: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23).

When we produce this fruit we will promote and find within ourselves:

Peace amidst persecution.

A peaceful and gentle call to repentance when encountering sinfulness, even the gravest, and especially in ourselves.

We will know at the depths of our being that darkness is overcome by the Light and Love is Light.

We will be patient: with sinners, including and especially ourselves — and with those who consistently challenge us in bad faith, ie.,“to test.”

We will always speak love and goodness, with kindness and joy.

We will be always faithful, trusting in the Father and His eternal presence and action in our life. 

We will be self-controlled, living in the virtues of prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice. 

These are the discerning criteria of a Christian.  Every Christian should ask, “Is this the fruit I produce?”

Again, Paul said, “Against these there is no law.” 

For your discernment:  Who in our modern politics and media exhibits this?  Who in our Church exhibits this?

Find them and follow them.  To follow Christ is life and gain.  For one and for all.

The change that must come is in our hearts. Our hearts of stone must be surrendered to Christ so He can turn them into hearts of flesh. 

Ressourcement

Ressourcement  — a return to the beginning, the source, the foundation.

This is a word to which I never knew the meaning until I began my theology studies in 2013.  In the context of the Catholic Church, it is a movement of theologians in the 20th Century to return to the sources of the Christian faith as a foundation for doing theology, namely Sacred Scripture and the writings of the Church Fathers.  For more information about this movement consider this link about Nouvelle Théologie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nouvelle_th%C3%A9ologie.

Ressourcement makes perfect sense to me.

Go to the source!  Don’t formulate ideas or opinions based on what someone says someone said. 

Unfortunately this is exactly what we do when we allow the news media, whatever label it is given, to inform our minds.  A little curiosity about sources is a good thing.  Let’s consider ressourcement in the context of who we listen to today.

The pandemic has been a blessing to me personally in multiple ways.  I am grateful that we have been healthy so far! One important blessing is that I have made a concerted effort to listen to the source, the Vicar of Christ, our Holy Father — Pope Francis.  His daily Masses have been shared on YouTube; there are even some mini-videos of him providing the daily Mass intentions.  I go listen to his homilies after I listen to the daily readings every morning.

It has been a treasure.(Click for link to Vatican YouTube)

There is so much out there that is so critical of Pope Francis.  Some of it comes even from people for whom I have great respect.  Some is not just criticism of ideas, but mean-spirited criticism of a person.  It is a great reminder to me of my own sinfulness, and of how I can become lost in my own opinions and ideas.  I wonder when I read some people’s comments, or hear about some of the headlines, if these people have actually listened to the source.

If we aren’t careful we can lose sight of what is true.  Unfortunately I know this personally, and my conscience often prompts me to repent.  By God’s grace I repent.  There but for the grace of God go I.

I say this not because I am good.  Only God is good — even Jesus told us this!  I say this because there is a fundamental error that we can make when we do not go to the source: we reject the dignity of the human person when we do not listen in order to hear them.

If we make a judgement about a person’s motives we are being disrespectful of their God-given dignity.  We have already turned down the sound — we don’t listen to them.  We listen only to what we have previously conceived in our minds. I have been guilty of this too many times.

There are particular Catholic news websites that are quite embarrassing to me as a Catholic.  It is said that people will know that we are Christians by our love.  I have always been taught that truth and love are not mutually exclusive.  St. Paul was very clear on this in 1 Cor 13:1-13.  More often then not, if I read an article from one of these sites I ask myself, “Where is the love?”  Or “Is this article bearing the fruits of the Holy Spirit?”  

I urge all of us to listen to the source directly.  Especially when the source is il Papa!