Homily – July 23, 2017

I just want to talk about one part of today’s gospel, the part about the enemy sneaking into his neighbour’s field and sowing weeds into the field his neighbour had just sown his wheat. Eventually both wheat and weeds began to sprout and grow. The field hands were horrified at the evilness of their master’s enemy and they wanted to root out the weeds right away. The wise master knew their enthusiasm would do more harm than good and advised that they just leave things be. ‘Let both grow together and at the harvest we’ll sort things out then’.

The farmer sensed that the grain’s struggle to overcome the weeds could provide a better crop of grain. His advice was wise; let both grow together til the harvest.’ We are all good seed but we find ourselves struggling with weeds in our lives, the cares of the world and our own personal issues with anger or resentment toward others, with our narrow-mindedness toward people of other nationalities, other cultures, other life styles, struggles with addictions, with patience and many other issues.

We find ourselves struggling with being accepting of the ‘different’. How do we accept people who think differently from ourselves as regards matters of our common faith? How do respect those among us who would like to go back to the good old days when Mass was said in Latin and the priest celebrated the Mass with his back to us- praying to God all by himself alone. How do react to Pope Francis’ stance of divorced and remarried Catholics receiving Holy Communion – his suggestion that one size doesn’t fit all – that there can be exceptions. How we related to good people who see moral issues only in black and white? As one writer suggested, you cut the cloth to fit the person, not the person to fit the cloth.

Christ is telling us that everything will work out in the end, that we mustn’t rip out of our lives, out of our parish, out of our church men and women we may see as weeds, weeds who do not belong in God’s garden.

St. Paul is a great example of a person who struggled with weeds in his life, in his personality. There was one weed in particular that plagued him. He referred to it as a ‘thorn in the flesh’ people have many ideas as to what that thorn might have been; the opposition of his Jewish brethren, those who demanded Gentile Christian be circumcised, his own irritability. Paul tells us that three times he begged Christ to pluck out this weed he struggled with and three times Christ refused. Paul resigned himself to living with this weed saying,’ gladly will glory with this weed that the strength of Christ may dwell in me.’

Our weeds, the cares of our world, won’t go away. They will challenge us all our lives but remember the strength of Christ dwells in us.

As we continue to celebrate our Eucharist may we trust the truth that our weeds, our struggles, will help us, with God’s grace, to yield a harvest of a hundred fold?