16th Sunday

16th Sunday

Recall that last Sunday we discussed the parable of the sower which can also be called the parable of the land. Recall that some seeds fell on the highway, some on rocky land, some on the thorny land, and some made it to the good soil. Today the parable of the wheat and the weed tells us what happened to the seed that made it to the good soil when the sower left the farmland. Jesus dropped three parables in the gospel viz: The parable of the wheat and the weed, the parable of mustard and the parable of the leaven. Among the three parables only the parable of the wheat has problem because of the presence of the weed. The mustard has no issue growing up, the leaven doesn’t have obstacles in rising. So we concentrate on the parable of the wheat because of problem and questions it raises.

The presence of evil in the world has foundation in reality. We live in a wonderful and yet a strange world, don’t we? So many people begin things with good intentions, wonderful visions, and really want to make things better, both in their own lives and in the lives of others. Marx and Lenin, the fathers of communism, really wanted to make the lives of their countrymen better. Atomic energy was supposed to make the world a better place. But, as in so many great efforts, things are likely to eventually go wrong. The same is true in our own personal lives. People fall in love and get married with nothing but the best of intentions, with high hopes, with hearts filled with love, and with wonderful visions. Then, somewhere along the line, things turn sour.

Life is mixture of good and evil. We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. There’s much in our nation that is both good and bad. Our governmental officials are both good and bad. There’s much in our Church that is good, and there are some bad things in it too. If we’re honest, we see that there is both good and bad in us individually and collectively. Everywhere we look we find this strange mixture of what’s right and what’s wrong.

The parable of the wheat and the weed answers some important questions facing every age concerning the existence of evil. Among the questions are:

If all God created was good (Gen. 1:31—God saw all that he had made, and it was very good), how did evil enter the world?

Why does good and evil exist side by side in the world?

Why is it very difficult sometimes to distinguish evil from good?

Will there ever be an end of evil?

Can evil be prevented?

The gospel narrative tells us that the sower sowed a good seed, left the farm, at night while men were asleep the enemy came and sowed the bad seed. It means that the reason why weeds are sown by the enemy is because are who were supposed to watch over the farmland are asleep. So, it means some people are responsible for watching over the land. In Ezekiel 3:17, God said to Ezekiel: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel”. By extension, we are watchmen over the land that the Lord has planted good seeds. Today, there is evil in every corner of the world because many righteous ones are asleep when they should be watching over the field.

Sleeping is a common human experience but it is also a symbol of laziness, lukewarmness and apathy. A watchman who always sleeps is grossly irresponsible. The three apostles nearly missed the glory of the transfigured Jesus on the mountain because they were asleep. The idea of sleeping is beyond the physical. There are many ways children of God are asleep today:

By being too busy and preoccupied

By being too indifferent (Lukewarmness) especially to things pertaining to morals, faith and persecution of believers. Jesus warns against this in Rev. 3:16.

By being unaware of the happenings around them.

By going way too deep in pleasure. Remember Samson was destroyed because he was asleep in pleasure. The apostle Peter denied the Lord as he was warning himself beside the fire in the midst of cold.

By grooving in sin (spiritual slumber).

Still sleeping? When we fall asleep in these ways, the devil enters the field, evil makes inroad and mixes with good. At a point when it will be very hard to tell the difference between good and evil, it stifles the growth of the good. The field can be the soul, the family, the academic system, the church, the marriage, the vocation, etc. In the family, when parents are too busy with business, they have no time to control what the children are watching and do, giving the enemy the unchallenged entrance to come in and sow the weed. Today, the home movies are not homely again, the social media has given rise to anti-social children and many more! So be vigilant and alert! The devil is on the prowl like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1st Peter 5:8). For how long shall we be asleep? Until our faith is wiped out by current evil trends and creeds? “Awake, you who are sleeping, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine on you” (Eph. 5:14).

What shall we do?
Be vigilant in prayer (Luke 18:1)
Be strong in faith (1Peter 5:9)
Speak out against evil and condemn it
Strive to be good.

Fr. A. Francis HGN

Posted in Messages from Fr. Francis