Mission Society of the Philippines

Homilies

16th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: THE PARABLE OF THE WEEDS AMONG THE WHEAT

Mt 13:24-30


SOME YEARS AGO, an American President gave a list of countries which he considered as belonging to an “axis of evil.” The countries included in this bloc are Asian countries of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. The President’s approach to eliminating terror is rather confrontational and result-oriented. In fact, he warned, “If other governments do not act, America will.”

In our gospel today, we hear of the Parable of the Weeds among the Wheat. The slaves upon seeing the weeds propose to their Master, “Do you want us to go and pull them up?” The Master replies, “No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest”. The parable shows that Jesus has a different way of approaching “evil.” Jesus presents a kind of co-existence between the wheat and the weeds, between good and evil. Thus, Jesus gives us another way of looking at and dealing with things. Like the Parable of the Sower, this parable is very much close to the country people. The parable tells us the process of planting until harvest time. With this parable, we come to understand “why does evil exist?” or “why evil has to exist?”

The values depicted in the parable are much different from the values of the present world. While the present world teaches us the importance of result, instantaneity, quickness, and confrontation, the values of the kingdom, in contrast, emphasize process, patience, and tolerance.

The first value is process. To be result-oriented is good but to emphasize the result more than the process is not healthy. If we deal with people, process is much more important than result. Jesus ponders on the conversion capacity of the person. And conversion for him is a process. He allows the weeds to be uprooted side by side the wheat during the harvest season. In the same way, he wants to judge a person at the end time. By doing this, he always gives a space for a person for conversion. Indeed, he is a God of “second chance”. He does not punish a person outright. As long as a person lives, there is hope for transformation and conversion. There is hope because there are opportunities for dialogue, negotiation, and understanding. This is what we mean by process.

The second value is patience. Corollary to the idea of process is patience. For the past decade, many things have been said about “globalization.” In fact, many people have made riches though writing their thoughts about this modern world phenomenon. One concrete indicator of globalization is the internet, and the internet captures some ideas of globalization, namely, instantaneity and quickness in communication. This has an effect in the person’s attitudes and values. People want quick solutions to problems. Like on the issue of terrorism, some world leaders want instant and quick solution to it. The result should be had in the soonest time. Consequently, all “timid” governments are not included in this enterprise. Yes, instantaneity and quickness are also important values. However, if we apply this to the conversion of persons, certainly, it would not work. Like Jesus, we need to be patient. Conversion is a process, and in fact, a long, long process. Therefore, people should be patient enough to wait for the change that they expect from others.

The third value is tolerance. God allows the weeds to grow among the wheat. He allows the weeds to exist and grow with the wheat. Allowing the weeds to grow with the wheat would mean that the weed does not actually do much harm to the wheat’s growth. Because if it does, then the farmers would always uproot the growing weeds. No farmer would say that a produce is heavily affected by the growth of the weeds. In dealing with “problematic” people, we should also show some space of tolerance. Tolerating them does not mean that we tolerate the evil deeds. Certainly, we should condemn the evil deeds and sins. However, we need to realize that this world is not a world of saints. This world does not demand to be lived only by the good ones. This world is lived by both the good and the bad ones. Allowing the bad ones to exist with the good is one way of showing and reminding them that there is a better alternative in living. The wheat should always outshine the weed. Thus, the role of the good ones is to outshine the bad ones.

Hence, our God is a God who emphasizes a process of conversion, a God who is patient and tolerant. Since we are created in the “image and likeness” of God, then we strive also to become like him, that is, being patient and tolerant in dealing with other people. Amen.


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