A PATIENT GOD

Saturday, 16th Week in Ordinary Time           

            Today’s gospel story would be familiar to the people of Palestine. When wheat was planted and started to grow, weeds would sprout too. Their seeds were mixed with the wheat and could not be distinguished at first. Then, by the time you could tell them apart, their roots were so tangled together, that if you tried to remove the weeds, the wheat was pulled up as well. The farmer had to let them grow together. But at harvest time, he had to separate them because that kind of weed was toxic.

            Like the owner in today’s parable, our God is a patient God. We all can look back into our own lives at the times we sinned, drifted, and did wrong. It is comforting to know that our God is not impulsive as we are, that God is patient. It is an important truth to remember that our God is a God of the second chance. And all of us at some time have desperately needed that second chance.

            The parable also teaches us a truth about the Church. All kinds of wheat abound in the Church. But there are also weeds. The Church is a mixed bag. It always was and always will be.

            We are not a Church of the perfect. A Church restricted to saints might be a nice Church but it would not be Christ’s Church. As one writer puts it, “The Church is not only a gallery for the display of saints.” “It is also a school for the transformation of sinners.” I also like what Charles Morrison said, “The Christian Church is a society of sinners.” “It is the only society in the world in which membership is based on the single qualification: that the candidate be unworthy of membership.”

            We should remember this: While we have life, our souls are not finished Christians. We have growing and leaning to do. We need to be careful about coming to final judgment about others. Joseph Krempa has this striking commentary and reflection: “None of us has an X-ray powerful enough to see through the soul of another person – that is, to see what God sees there.”

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