I heard a great introduction to last Sunday's Gospel on the weekend (at the beginning of Mass). For those of you who didn't find your Sunday preaching so memorable here's the Gospel to spark your memory…
Matt. 13: 24-30. Short Form. Jesus put before the crowds a parable, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the householder came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?' He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?' But he said, 'No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers. Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'"
The usual take I hear on this Gospel is that we need to be careful that we are not the weeds that are taken off to be burnt. But this week the sentence that was the focus was "'Then do you want us to go and gather them?' But he said, 'No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.'" The small introduction that was read at the beginning of Mass reminded us that it is not our job to judge. It is not our job to say who will be condemned and who will be saved. We are NOT the reapers. God and his angels will do this job. It is our job to live good lives. To be the wheat amongst the weeds.
The Gospel also indicates that the reason this job has not been given to us is because we might very well mistake wheat for weeds (or good for evil). This really hit a chord with me. As much as we can disapprove of people's actions, we never really know what is in that person's heart. Only God is able to really know a person.
This also led to me thinking that it is also only God who is capable of loving us so completely as to look past our many faults and see the goodness in us. We ALL have the potential to be weeds. But God sees us as his sons and daughters and loves us regardless of our failings. As humans we could never love like that, which is why we could never be fair judges when it came down to it.
This also brought to mind the novel The Shack. Anyone else read it? There is a remarkable scene in The Shack where the main character confronts God about how He could possibly love the man who attacked and murdered this man's little daughter. God turns the tables on this man who has two remaining daughters and asks him to choose which one can go to heaven. It seems, on the surface, an obvious choice. One of his daughters is living a good and holy life, the other one is into drugs and is non-communicative with the family. However, as a father, this man cannot condemn either of his children to hell, his love for them is so great. God uses this to show the man that this is how it is for Him also. Even though the murderer has done horrific things, he is still God's child, and God still loves him like a father and hopes for his repentance. Very powerful stuff.