Someone shoots a passenger plane out of the sky and 298 people die. The Palestinians and the Israelis launch firepower at each other for yet another round of Mideast turmoil. A man leaves his child in a sweltering car to die. Just another week on planet earth. While I feel somewhat cynical even writing those few sentences, it strikes me that our inhumanity, small and large, seems to know no end and I am at somewhat of a loss to muster the appropriate indignation. After all, how much indignation can one sustain given that this month’s tragedies seem eerily similar to last month’s? I admit to having become somewhat immune to the news of the world’s evil. I wonder if I have grown a little immune to my own?
This Sunday’s Gospel has us reflecting on the weeds and the wheat. Those evil weeds grow up right alongside the wheat and threaten to choke it off all the time. I feel a kinship with the servants who want the weeds pulled out now! I am tired of living with the evil weeds. Why does Jesus allow for them to be left until the harvest? Why can’t we live without these evil people who perpetrate these evil deeds?
Jesus reluctance is clear: take out the weeds and you might take out the wheat as well. Jesus realizes that evil is very intertwined with good in this broken world. He knows the truth that I don’t want to confront: the evil of the world is not relegated to “those people” – the really evil people. It is something present in all of us. To get rid of the evil weeds now is to toss all of humanity, and put that way, I guess I am willing to be a bit more merciful – that is as long as God is willing to be merciful with me! The challenge of the week’s madness is not to think myself immune. There but for the grace of God go I. Of course I cannot fathom aiming a rocket launcher at a passenger jet, but I can shoot my fair share of verbal missiles. Evil is evil – it’s all a matter of degree. Given that I pray for God’s forgiveness for myself, may I take a moment today to pray for the forgiveness of the others who have committed similar and much worse evils this day. And when the final harvest comes, I pray that the evils in my life will not have choked off the finest wheat which God has created me to become.
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