July 19, 2020
Jesus Christ, a living and incarnate Word, teaches us to live incarnate like wheat in a world where tares abound.
Reading the Book of Wisdom 12, 13. 16-19
Outside of you there is no other God to take care of everything,
whoever you have to prove you don’t judge unfairly.
Because your strength is the principle of justice
and your lordship mostly makes you lenient with everyone.
You deploy your strength to the one who doesn’t believe in your perfect power
and you confuse the boldness of those who know him.
But you, the owner of the power, judge in moderation
and you govern us with great indulgence,
because you use your power when you want to.
Acting like this, you taught your people
that the righteous must be human
and you gave your children good hope,
for you grant repentance to sinners.
Exit 85, 5-6. 9-10. 15-16a
R/. You, Lord, are good and merciful.
You, Lord, are good and merciful,
rich in mercy with those who invoke you.
Lord, listen to my prayer,
answers the voice of my plea. R/.
All peoples will come
to prostrate in your presence, Lord;
they will bless your name:
“Great is thou, and thou do wonders;
you are the only God.” R/.
But you, Lord,
Merciful and merciful God,
slow to anger, rich in piety and loyal,
look at me, have pity on me. R/.
Reading the Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Romans 8, 26-27
The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness, for we do not know how to ask as appropriate; but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with ineffable groans.
And he who scrutins hearts knows what the desire of the Spirit is, and that his intercession for the saints is according to God.
Gospel (short form)
Reading the Holy Gospel according to Matthew 13, 24-30
At that time, Jesus proposed another parable to the people by saying:
“The kingdom of heaven resembles a man who sowed good seed in his field; but, as the men slept, an enemy went and sowed tares in the midst of the wheat and left. When it started to green and the spike formed, so did the tares. Then it was the servants to say to the master:
“Lord, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where does the tares come from?”
He said to them:
“An enemy has done it.”
The servants ask him:
“Do you want us to start it?”
But he said to them:
“No, when you pick up the tares you can also pluck the wheat. Let them grow together to mowing, and when mowing arrives, I’ll say to the mingers: rip the tares first and tie it in sheaves to burn it, and the wheat will store it in my barn.”
Today’s first reading, taken from the book of Wisdom, presents to us the image of the God who truly exists, and which will be fully revealed in his incarnate Word which is Jesus Christ; a unique and almighty God, not arrogant or collective but indulgent with all; a God who judges in moderation and does not abuse his power; a God who treats us as children, a “human” God who teaches us to be “human”, not condescending to evil or sin but who is understanding and merciful to the sinner, for sinners are all, and to all God gives us the opportunity of repentance.
He introduces us to this first reading in the background theme raised in today’s Gospel through the parable of wheat and tares, a parable through which Jesus presents us and explains one of the most difficult philosophical and ethical problems to solve: the coexistence of good and evil and its difficult coexistence.
From the parable we can draw several conclusions:
The first is that we should not be shocked by the presence of evil, in any form, both socially or collectively or individually or personally. we’re not angels, we’re not demons. We are weak men and women, in need of God, heirs to the sin of origins. But it is very important to know how to distinguish, discern, what is good from what is not, what is right of what is wrong, the wheat of tares. The goodism in which we sometimes fall, the moral relativism and the false concept of God’s mercy, that everything will be forgiven without more, can lead us to a monumental deception.
The second conclusion is that in God there is never the origin of evil. Rereading the parable inferred that it is hardly even important to blame something or someone of its origin. The most important thing is to realize that evil is there, to become aware of it, to be able to identify and objectify it, that tares are present in the field and that it robs wheat of its space and the life force that drives it to grow.
The third conclusion is that the useless pretence of wanting to remove the root evil in its entirety is not desirable… because we could also pluck the wheat, that is, good. Jesus says in the parable, “Let them grow together to harvest.” Mysteriously tares have its function, perhaps reaffirming wheat, propeling us more towards good… St Paul will say in the letter to the Romans: “To those who love God, everything serves good”. Deep down we are reminded that only God is God, and that only He knows why things, knows the depths of each person’s heart, and is able to distinguish clearly between good and evil. The judgment must be left to Him. One of the Church’s constant temptations throughout history has been the Manichean tendency to judge early and divide the world and the Church itself into good and evil, evidently trying to expel and eliminate the bad guys, who are usually the ones who do not think or are like us.
The fourth conclusion we could draw from the parable is the invitation to respect and tolerance, a fundamental basis for coexistence in peace and harmony with all those who are otherwise, who think differently, even contrary to us, who belong to other groups, ideologies, ethnicities, creeds or cultures. In an increasingly plural world we must constantly remember that God is the Father of all. And that we are all invited to affirm our identity and condition, without harming plurality and fraternity. Well-understood respect and tolerance, from the perspective of the Gospel of Christ, are the best antidote to integrisms and fundamentalisms. Respecting and tolerating does not mean giving up one’s identity and the common search for truth and the common good; nor does it mean the acceptance of relativism as the basis of coexistence or the privatization or reduction of morality to the subjective realm of mere consciousness.
Let us pray that, as St Paul says to the Romans, the Spirit of God will come to our aid to understand and pray as appropriate. Our knowledge and perception of reality is limited and conditioned. We need Him; we do not intend to usurp your place; how much patience you have with us; how he knows how to wait; God alone is God.
Lord, give us the wisdom you judge from above and go in the distance.
Give us the spirit that omits the insignificant in favor of the essential.
Show us to calm down in the face of struggle and obstacles,
and to continue in faith, without agitation, the path for You traced.
Give us a serene activity that encompasses totality with a unitary vision.
Help us accept criticism and contradiction.
Make us know how to avoid clutter and dispersion.
That we love all things together with you.
O God, source of being, join You and all that converges toward joy and eternity.
(Fr. Ignacio Larrañaga)