24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like someone who planted good seed in his field. 25 While people were sleeping, an enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 When the stalks sprouted and bore grain, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The servants of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Master, didn’t you plant good seed in your field? Then how is it that it has weeds?’
28 “‘An enemy has done this,’ he answered.
“The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and gather them?’
29 “But the landowner said, ‘No, because if you gather the weeds, you’ll pull up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow side by side until the harvest. And at harvesttime I’ll say to the harvesters, “First gather the weeds and tie them together in bundles to be burned. But bring the wheat into my barn.”’”
One of the charges often leveled against religion is that it doesn’t deal well with the reality of evil in the world. Too often, people think that we have too rosy a view of human nature, or that we have no answer for the wrongs people do to one another.
But Jesus often talks in terms that acknowledge the difficulty of this life – and the wrongs that we do to each other, even within the community of the Church. Many who are on the outside look at the Church and conclude that it’s full of self-righteous, hypocritical people – though we already knew that, a recent study bore that out.
Jesus didn’t need to be told that people are deeply flawed. He didn’t need anyone to remind him that people aren’t always what they seem. Didn’t one of the Twelve betray him?
We can’t allow the presence of flawed people to determine how we view faith or the Church. It’s easy to become cynical and suspicious. That’s not to say we shouldn’t hold institutions to a high standard and take action when people break faith, especially when their actions hurt others.
But Jesus reminded us to keep things in perspective: that as long as people inhabit the Church, there will be weeds among the wheat. He expected it. So don’t allow people to cause you to lose faith in God or the community Christ created to be his hands and feet on earth.
by Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
You’ve probably had the experience where the Church has somehow let you down. What kept you coming back? How can you help others to find that same perspective?
Prayer: God, we know that it is easy for us to lose sight of your Divine presence in the face of human fallenness. When we are tempted to judge and dismiss others, remind us that we are also sometimes guilty of being weeds among the wheat. Don’t let us succumb to cynicism. Instead, remind us that we all look forward to your redemption and trust you to be the just and gracious judge of our thoughts, words, and actions. Amen.