Grace to you!
Referring to the recent scandalous, sad news concerning some bishops in Chile, and a retired top U.S.A Cardinal, a devout Catholic asked how Christ seems to be silent as bad seeds plant themselves and grow in his Church.
Consider too that those you may have loved and respected as believers from time to time shock you with some bad examples. You wonder why do they even go to Church? Why claim to be believers? Why claim to be Catholics?
To be sure, if you have imagined that there was ever a time the Church was a perfect community, where everyone was the Immaculate Virgin Mary, you are wrong. From the time of the apostles 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 Jesus to his disciples post resurrection in Acts of the Apostles, the Lord would always carry the marks of the wounds. That wound symbolizes the human situation. That wound is seen every place in the Church today. Yet, through that wound we can see the redeeming power of God for those who ask for grace and mercy. As the prophesy of Isaiah referring to the Lord 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 to the reality of the Church on earth. 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 grow in the heart of anyone who received it. It grows in the community of faith, the Church. But 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 sow any of these. The enemy has done so.
These 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. 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, is out to see that the seed sown does not flourish. 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.
The Lord however 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 still remain faithful believers. There will be those, who despite the alluring deceit of the enemy, run to the finish line.
I want to be among them. What about you?
Praying for the grace of steadfastness in the practice of virtue and living the gospel. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Friday Week 16, Ordinary Time B: Jer 7:1-11; Mt 13:24-30]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible 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.