Grace to you!
Referring to the scandals that rear their ugly head from time to time in the Church, a devout Catholic asked how Christ seems to be silent as bad seeds plant themselves and grow in his Church.
Consider that those you may have loved and respected as believers from time to time shock you with some bad examples too. You wonder why do they even go to Church? Why claim to be believers? Why claim to be Catholics?
To be sure, if you imagine that there was ever a time the Church was a community of individuals who are holy angels and saints, you are wrong. From the apostles' time until now, we have dealt with the human brokenness in the Holy Church.
The body of Christ, though in glory, is at once mangled, with sores and wounds all over it. In all the appearances of the Blessed Lord Jesus to his disciples' following the resurrection (in Acts of the Apostles) the Lord would always carry the wounds' marks. Those wounds symbolize the human situation in which we live and in which the Church is born. The scars are seen in every place in the Church today. Yet, through the wounds, we can see God's redeeming power for those who ask for grace and mercy. As the prophecy of Isaiah referring to the Messiah says, "By his wounds, we are healed" (Is 53:5).
In the parable of the good seed (wheat) and the weeds (Mt 13:24-30), the Lord speaks to the human condition and the Church's reality on earth. Previously, this past Sunday, we shared some thoughts about it. Here we add another perspective.
The seed sown by the master is good. The seed is the Word, which is Christ. It is good because Christ is good, true, and beautiful. The seed has the power in itself to renew all things and transform lives and society.
The grace of Christ begins to germinate in the heart of anyone who received it. As a friend once shared with me, the soil does not serve its greater need of fruitfulness unless it received the seed, any more than the seed germinates unless the soil allows it. This mutual relationship between the seed and the soil’s embrace is crucial for fruitfulness. The seed grows in the community of faith, the Church.
Nevertheless, the devil referred to in this parable as the enemy isn't asleep. When believers aren't alert, the devil comes and sows seeds of pride, greed, lust, envy, sloth, gluttony, bitter anger, etc. The master didn't plant any of these. The enemy has done so.
These bad seeds are more alluring than virtues because they seem to align with our human brokenness, no thanks to Original Sin. Hence, the faithful have to deal with the constant temptation to be unfaithful, the constant temptation not to love as Christ loves, the constant temptation not to be like Christ. As we saw on Sunday, if the believer and the believing community aren't self-aware, vigilant, the enemy can strike.
The enemy of truth, who is a master deceiver, works effortlessly to prevent the sown seed from flourishing. The enemy hates the beautiful body; therefore, he has to plant seeds of decay so the beautiful can't be seen for what it is, and so the truth will be silenced.
However, the Lord reassures: in the end, there will be the harvest of the good (the wheat), and the tying of the weeds for burning (Mt 13:29-30). This suggests that in all the temptations, there will remain faithful believers—those, who despite the alluring deceit of the enemy, run to the finish line.
I want to be among them. Would you?
I pray for the grace of steadfastness in the practice of virtue and living the Gospel. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Saturday Week 16, Ordinary Time: Jer 7:1-11; Mt 13:24-30]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.