Pondering for Sunday, July 19, 2020

New Testament Eucharistic Readings for Sunday of Proper 11: Year A

Romans 8:12-25  Matthew 13:24-30,36-43

“Jesus put before the crowd another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well.” (Matthew 13: 24 – 26)

We are not able to tell the weeds from the wheat until we see the grain.  How do we know the weeds? By the waste or sin produced. We can see such acts as identity theft and robbery as sinful but it is sinful with a self-serving purpose. This doesn’t make it acceptable or in any way tolerable.

But there is also a senseless, and even more shameful kind of weed that is just evil for evil’s sake.  There is the mild sort of evil like computer hacking without a buyback, where no one profits from the frustration encountered.  I have heard of acts like taping razor blades to gas pump handles just to cause random injury to unknown victims. Acts like poisoning produce at a store or market so unknown persons fall victim to this evil. These are weeds sown within the wheat.  These are purely evil acts against our neighbors for the sole purpose of harming just for the purpose of harming.  There may be some psychological psychosis at work. By psychosis I mean fixation, neurosis, phobia or obsession particularly aimed at antisocial behavior.

So why does evil exist?  Some say evil is the work of the devil; perhaps. Personally, I think it is more the product of a psychosis focused on hurtful, and often, hateful outcomes that lack any sense of love.  I might even suggest that evil happens in the absence of love.  But love doesn’t just happen, my beloved of the Lord, it is taught.

People, who are loved, tend to love others.  People, who are resented, sadly, tend to resent others. This does not happen all the time, but it happens enough to cause senseless harm.  Maybe the psychosis of evil will show some chemical imbalance as a probable cause. In such cases, a medicinal approach may help resolve the antisocial behavior. Whatever the cause, evil acts are among us. So when the plants came up and bore grain, “then the weeds appeared as well.”  We can’t deny it. Nor should we want to.   Our response to such acts, when we see them, is to not let them cause a retaliatory, evil for evil.  But rather, use the abundance of love that we have been taught, to overcome such acts. Augustine of Hippo once said, (and I’m paraphrasing), “Do not think that God makes no use of evil.  Evil has one of two purposes. One, that it might lure you to itself.  The second is that you might bring an evil person into the light of love and goodness.”  Be steadfast therefore my beloved, in doing good, and resist evil in any of its manifestations.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John

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