Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

There is a certain appeal to today's first parable, given the evil that surrounds us. This weekend, the headlines come from Gaza and Ukraine. Next weekend … Too many of our brothers and sisters have already been cast into a "fiery furnace", from where even the deaf can hear their "wailing and grinding of teeth". So yes, there is a certain appeal to the idea that those who cause this misery will get what is coming to them in the end. But such vengeful delight can only be indulged by ignoring the caution implicit in the parable. Who is wheat, and who is weed? How many of us turn a blind eye to our own complicity in the headlines that make us wince? Are there any among us who have not caused one of our siblings to sin? Are there any among us who have never participated in some form of evil? By all rights, those bundles of weeds should be as numerous as the stars. We are most fortunate, then, that God is "good and forgiving", "lenient to all". And I say that our Parent will never consider one of their children to be a weed. So is the parable a bluff to get us to behave? Or is it a warning about the nature of the kingdom of heaven, where the veil of our limited vision will be lifted, and we will know with certainty of the misery we have caused? Such knowledge would indeed be a "fiery furnace" and just cause for "wailing and grinding of teeth". "Whoever has ears ought to hear."