A mixed bag of saints and sinners – Tuesday, 17th week in ordinary time – Mt 13:36-43
Any community of faith does not live in isolation; it lives within the world where corruption does attempt to make its home among believers. Often we see such elements within the Church, elements that cause scandal among believers, leaving believers wondering why God permits such happenings.
We would all like a perfect world but that is not how reality plays out. There are weeds and wheat in the kingdom of God and often the darnel (weeds) looks exactly like the wheat. Sure we would like to weed out the rot but then there is always a risk that the wheat might also be uprooted. Should collateral damage be ok in the Church? Can a few good Christians take a hit if the larger majority of sinners can be eradicated?
Jesus’ solution is one that takes the line of wait and watch; He advocates patience, tolerance and forbearance for the kingdom of God is a mixed bag of saints and sinner on earth. While some on earth may live in the delusion that the corruption of death is a far way calling, the reality is that death comes like a thief in the night. The justice of God exists, but not in our time, in His time.
Jesus, in explaining this parable to the disciples, is making a point; that divine judgment will be delivered but that judgment is His to make and not for us to usurp. Often times, members of the Church feel compelled to eradicate, what seems to the human mind, as a sinful brother or sister. Gathering in and weeding out the sinners of the world is not ours; that is for the reapers or His angelic agents, as in the parable of the dragnet.
Having said that, we must realize that the time for transformation and repentance is here on earth! Repentance is an earthly calling even if it takes place at the eleventh hour and provided it comes from a sincere heart. There were two thieves who hung besides Jesus, one repented with sincerity and stole heaven, the other sadly continued to be unrepentant. Pulling a sad face or a cute smile won’t get the pearly doors to swing open; our knees in the confessional on earth, will.
Twice in the parable discourse of chapter 13, Matthew reminds the reader of divine judgment; here and again in the parable of the dragnet. There is a point that Jesus wishes to make by the repetition of the teaching, namely stressing the urgency for repentance, for God’s judgment is a reality. What we do on this earth counts and matters both in this world and the world to come. We are after all heaven bound.
Fr Warner D’Souza