Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lectionary: 402

His disciples approached him and said,
“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are the children of the Evil One, and the enemy who sows them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.

Jesus used familiar imagery to convey a familiar teaching to his contemporaries. Just as a gardener rakes the useless out of his garden, so will God rake the useless out of his kingdom. 

Not many years ago the smoke of burning leaves scented many suburban neighborhoods during the fall of the year. Nowadays we see recyclable bags of leaves and grass cuttings waiting on the curb for collection and disposal. No matter the era or the method, the message is the same: neither God nor gardeners have much use for the useless. 

However, the message is not an assurance of doom but a promise: God will deliver us. 

I think, for people who think of themselves as entitled, this is a hard message. Saint Paul says, "When I am weak, then I am strong." The corollary follows, "When I am strong, then I am weak." 

Am I willing to be weak so as to experience God's mercy? Or, more precisely, am I willing to consider my weakness without defensive fear, anguish, panic or dread? 

I live in the United States, a nation-state of astonishing power. At least some people who know what they're talking about say the US has more military power than all other nations combined. We won the arms race several years ago, and the world ceded the victory to us. Many abandoned the field to concentrate on building their economies, schools and hospitals. 

Unfortunately, all our strength never translated to security. That's because security, like justification, only comes through faith; as Martin Luther said, sola fides. 

Personally, every time I watch the evening news, or read the online newspaper, or meet a Catholic Veteran who abandoned the Faith when he entered the Service, I feel dread creeping up in me. In that moment, I find my only hope in prayer. I've found no consolation in Republican conservatism, Democratic liberalism, military defense, universal education, universal health care, open immigration, closed immigration, sustainability or any other panacea. I think our peril is way beyond the reach of human intervention.  

Rather, I turn back to prayer and the words of Jesus“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.  

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.