Thursday, July 21, 2011


According to one of the free on line dictionaries, that’s a picture of “tares”, a word sometimes used in translations of Matthew 13: 1-23, the follow-up teaching of Jesus after the parable of the Sower and the Seed.
Jesus is teaching us on the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven and the daily struggle to be faithful disciples, so Jesus notes that once the good seed has been planted “while people slept”, an enemy comes and sows what is bad seed: tares, darnel, weeds.
Of course the natural instinct is to pull the weeds, the summer obsession of people for example who see dandelions as enemy of the perfect lawn!
Jesus however urges patience, letting good and bad seed grow together, knowing the former is more filled with life than the latter, and hence at harvest time the few weeds will be removed, bundled and burned, while the wheat, the glorious fullness of the good will be gathered into heaven.
A friend, commenting on the previous blog, asked me to write about preventing the spreading of bad seed.
Reality is, as any farmer or home gardener can attest, between wind and birds and even just stuff clinging to our clothing, unwanted plants, weeds, whatever, stopping them ending up amongst the pristine expanse of lawn so well cared for or in the midst of huge fields of wheat, is for all intents and purposes impossible.
When it comes to the field of our souls, those of people around us, satan is certainly the enemy who seeks to overwhelm the good seed with the evil seed he sows – but we are not like unmoveable earthen fields or backyard gardens or lawns.
We can ask for grace to be kind, gentle, meek, and charitable, and if we should, by word or action, cast unholy seed into the heart of another we have access to grace yet again, to beg forgiveness, to ask pardon, to struggle and begin anew.

Life in this ancient painting appears somewhat like an idyll, peaceful companionship while at work, gathering the bountiful harvest so family is fed.
These women also reveal life is hard work, struggle – never more so these days than for those mothers seeking to ease the discomfort of children as the persistent heatwave covers most of North America, even greater is the suffering of mothers in East Africa where there is no harvest to gather and where the enemy has sown famine.
In Canada and the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving each fall by gathering with family and, if we be honest, frequently gorging ourselves for most of us have plenty, but even in our midst there is hunger: for food, for hope, for love.
Rather than overly focus on how from time to time we may lack charity or be a downer for others, in a word on the paucity of weeds in the enclosed garden of our beings, where Jesus sits with us in constant dialogue of love, it seems to me we should trust the harvest will be a good one and focus on loving Him in each other.
Certainly we need to labour in the field of the spiritual life, certainly we need to struggle to overcome any lack of goodness within our lives, but with intimate confidence in Him, in His love, for His tender mercy is greater than our sins, our wounds, our fears.
Love Himself has created us to be His beloved, and we are.
Love Himself has placed within us the good seed of His love, His grace, indeed permeates our very being with Himself in every Holy Communion and a significant aspect of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the reality of thanksgiving.
Bl. Pope John Paul reminds us that:
Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This, as has already been said, is why Christ the Redeemer "fully reveals man to himself". … In the mystery of the Redemption man becomes newly "expressed" and, in a way, is newly created. He is newly created! "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus". The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly-and not just in accordance with immediate, partial, often superficial, and even illusory standards and measures of his being -he must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into him with all his own self, he must "appropriate" and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself. If this profound process takes place within him, he then bears fruit not only of adoration of God but also of deep wonder at himself. How precious must man be in the eyes of the Creator, if he "gained so great a Redeemer", and if God "gave his only Son "in order that man "should not perish but have eternal life" {Redeemer of Man, Para. 10.1} 

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