Grace to you!
Dr. Allen (not his real name), by any means, was a person of integrity.
Regarding accountability, he was impeccable. He would never engage in practices or discussions suggestive of shady activities or immodest innuendos. He kept to the ethics of his profession as a medical practitioner, until he met a sneaky colleague.
This fellow gradually won his admiration. He was caring, supportive and hardworking. Who wouldn’t be attracted to such qualities? Who wouldn’t want to hang out with such a guy?
In fact, he would readily fill in for Allen whenever he needed to attend to urgent family affairs. They became friends. For Allen, his new buddy was a friend in need; therefore, a friend indeed.
However, this friend was a little lax in terms of work ethics, including clocking in wrong times so as to make more money, manipulating the books, and prescription fraud.
In addition, he would make suggestive side comments, wittingly designed to influence.
You know those subliminal messages? They can be powerful ways of infiltration. The mainstream media know this quite too well. They also use them a lot. Watch. Media framing thrives on the subliminal.
Harmless as they may seem, suggestive subliminal messages can be very powerful. Entertain them and you may be nursing the seed of a fall. They are like weeds among the wheat.
To make a long story short, the good man who never thought of entertaining bad ideas, started to do so. It wasn’t long before he found himself in a mess, which almost cost him his license.
How did it begin? A trusted friend has sowed a bad seed. In biblical terms, weed seed has been sown.
The best of people are not exempt from slipping if they allow the subtle presence of bad seed, such as heresy or deceptive ideas, into their lives. This is true in our personal lives as well as in communities.
Watch the stages of decay in inner cities. At first, these cities were beautiful and safe. Then a bad guy shows up, bringing one or two of his kind. A league of evil is formed. Before long, the once beautiful city becomes a den of robbers, if not a ghost town.
The Church, the family of God, shares similar vulnerability. The Lord Jesus Christ spoke of it in the parable of weeds among the wheat (see Matthew 13:24-30). The seed sown was good. Nevertheless, Satan, the enemy and deceiver, sows the weed. This happens when “guardians” of the field are asleep. Danger of lack of spiritual vigilance. Religious leaders take note.
What happens? Corruption starts. It festers. Those in the community who aren’t on guard are infested. This explains the reality in our Christian communities.
To be sure, a church of all holy individuals is unreal. In every church, based on this Jesus’ analogy, it’s normal to have saints and sinners. Afterall, Christ came for sinners. Jesus is a true realist. In fact, though God is perfect and His authority sovereign, Scripture says He judges us with mercy and kindness (Wisdom 12:18). God’s mercy waits patiently for us, inviting us to repentance. “His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 136:1).
So, do not be scandalized by the corruptions you see in many of our churches. Jesus says, “The enemy has done this” (Matthew 13:28). The same applies to individuals. God made us good. The enemy sows the bad seed.
What, then, are we to do?
Focus on how to avoid conforming to the subtle weed of the enemy. It’s a personal call. It’s also a collective responsibility. Church leaders must be vigilant too. With Christ, proclaim and sow the good seed.
One broad strategy that works for me, and I guess for many, is spiritual vigilance, guided by the following simple litmus: When faced with uncertain choices, always ask: If Jesus were in my position, what would he do? What does God’s Word say about this? Does this idea or action please the Lord?
By the grace of God, the above simple questions can keep you spiritually alert. In addition, PRAY—for yourself and for another.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[16th Sunday Ordinary Time A: Wisdom 12:13, 16-19; Matthew 13:24-43]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.