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Friday, July 18, 2014

THE WHEAT AND THE WEED IN ME



16TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – A

Matthew 13:24-43



         The theme of most animated films has always been the battle between evil and good.  Amongst my favourites are the Lion King, Kung Fu Panda, The Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, to name a few. The world has always been the battlefield between good and evil as shown in the stories of the superheroes like Batman, Spiderman, Superman, The Avengers, etc.   The evil one might enjoy temporary and short-lived victory but at the end it is always the good one who always wins.  

         In the parable of the weeds and the wheat, we find the reality of the existence of good and evil in the moral and religious context.   Like the reapers in the parable who wanted to root up the weeds, we also want to get rid off the evil elements in the world.   To maintain peace and order in society we have the penal system not just to punish those who have committed crimes but to free our streets with offenders so we can live in peace.   We even go to the extent of installing safety measures in our homes and workplace to ward off intruders with evil intent. But even with the presence of the police and other safety measures in place we are not totally safe because bad people still roam around and lurking in the dark ready to strike at an opportune time.  The recent crash of the Malaysian Airlines in Ukraine which was hit by a missile where 298 people died and the war between the Palestinians and the Israelites in the Gaza Strip:  are concrete examples when the lives of innocent civilians go to waste because of the aggression of evil men.

This battle between good and evil is not just happening in the world, it is also a reality that we have to contend with inside our own hearts.   The wars and terrorism and violence that we see happening in the world today and in the past all begin in one’s heart.  

According to Neuropsychological research, we “otherize” when we place people outside the circle of “us” and our brain automatically begins to devalue them as less human, unworthy of respect, deserved to be treated badly and to be attacked merely because they existed.   This “otherization” which is an innate and human capacity finds its worst expressions in the Jewish holocaust by Hitler, the Indian genocide by the Spanish invasion of the Americas, the Inquisition by the Catholic Church and in many dark moments in world history.   We still “otherize” by being a racist when we look down at other people because they look different from us and as if we are better than them.  We cannot also judge other people by their external looks  because they are not as pious or religious as we are.

       The good news is that we have a merciful God who sows goodness in our hearts.   Because of our weakness, some weeds might have found their way to our hearts but the wheat is still there even in the worst amongst us, ready to be transformed if only we surrender to God’s grace.  We have seen them in the lives of St. Mary Magdalene, St. Paul who was a murderer, St. Augustine the playboy and many of our saints who in the eyes of the world before were useless weeds. 
         
       Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson tells the story of “…a Native American elder who was asked how she had become so wise, so happy, and so respected. She answered: ‘In my heart there are two wolves: a wolf of love and a wolf of hate. It all depends on which one I feed each day.’”  (Tom Moon)  Which wolf did I feed today?

         “I might be a tiny seed of wheat planted in the field of weeds but I shall grow amidst the hostilities surrounding me and multiply myself so that one day I shall be ground into flour for God’s sacred bread to be offered in God’s sacred feast….”

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