Lowly, meek and patient, Jesus bears with the weak and annoying. We learn from him to bear with one another and not rush to judge.
A church lector tells another church lector that he would love to be heaven’s gatekeeper. That is to say, to be the one separating one from another those at the gate seeking to get in. He would place the politicians from the Republican party on his right and those of the Democratic party on his left. And right away, the other lector replies: “I, on the other hand, would place the democrats on my right and the republicans on my left.” Both lectors, no doubt, generalize and rush to judge and exclude.
And, in today’s gospel, the servants seem to rush to solve the problem of the weeds. For they suggest to their master that they go and pull out the weeds. But they do not know what they say; they do not get it as does their master.
No, we humans do not know, quite often, what to do, what to say, what to ask. And we end up joining those who are usually in a rush. So, it is good that the Spirit comes to help us. And, for the same reason, it will be wise of us to heed Jesus’ call, “Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
We heard him last Sunday make the same call after telling the parable of the sower. But he addressed it to the crowds. But today, he means it for his disciples. One can rightly say, then, that he wants them to be lowly, meek and patient.
Not to rush to condemn and exclude
Those Jesus have chosen are from the little and simple folks. They get to know things about the kingdom of heaven that the wise and learned do not get to know. Which means that Christians should not be like the smug Pharisee who thinks he is righteous. He also despises others and sets himself apart from them.
And Christians can rush to judge others and be as militant, rigid, separatist and impatient as the Zealots and the Essenes of Qumran. Are there not Christians who would bar other Christians from communion? They might not believe that the Eucharist is “not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (EG 47).
But we are to be like Christ who eats with sinners. He embodies the teaching that to have true might means to show patience and mercy, to give hope to sinners. We should not be like those that St. Augustine says are hopeless creatures. Those who, the less they look at their sins, the more they focus on the sins of others.
We are to trust, besides, the Lord of the harvest and to do our best to be the good seed. To be also the small mustard seed that becomes a large and welcoming plant, and the yeast that brings about desired change.
Lord Jesus, do not let us rush in a way that hurts others. Grant that we trust Providence and learn to “make haste slowly” (SV.EN V:400).
23 July 2023
16th Sunday in O.T. (A)
Wis 12, 13. 16-19; Rom 8, 26-27; Mt 13, 24-43