The dynamics of life is intriguing. Some persons are born poor, unprivileged and maybe deformed; while some others are born rich, privileged and with some extra abilities. Some people are born with or are later in life confronted with one ailment or the other; while some others have never been to the hospital except for when they just opt for a medical check-up. Some persons find themselves struggling with certain unspeakable weaknesses that they either cannot account for its presence in them, or are not to be blamed for how it came about. In all of these, change is constant. The rich can become poor and vice versa. The sick can become healthy and vice versa. The weak can become strong and vice versa. The liturgy of today presents us with the loving patience of God who continues to hope that we can and will change for the better.
The grace of God in us continually propels us into conversion. In the gospel reading, we are told the parable of the wheat and the weed. If we understand the wheat and the weed to exist on different platforms, we will miss the entire message. The wheat is goodness, the weed is evil; our hearts are the field where both the wheat and the weed have been planted. We become good or bad based on which seed we tend and cultivate into maturity. The owner of the field refused that the weeds will be removed at early stage because change is possible. God does not judge us base on our beginnings but based on what we willingly decided to make up with our beginnings. If a weed decides to change and become fruitful; it becomes a wheat. If a wheat allows itself to be distracted and becomes fruitless, it is not different from a weed. The fact is, whatever is not of God that is in us, can be transformed to become of God. Beloved, God is patient with us because he wants us to realize our errors and repent of them. In this mercy, God desires the salvation of all men; but in his justice, he will condemn unrepentant sinners.
This parable also consoles us at the presence of evil in our world. We are consoled first of all because God is aware; He is sometimes silent not because he is powerless but because he has his plan clearly mapped out for our good. Evil will not and cannot have the final say. Ordinarily, weeds compete with wheat for nutrients and can even slow down the growth process of wheat. Yet, God allows them to grow together because he wants us to decisively choose him and love him. If there is no battle there will be no victor. We have no fear of what evil can do to us for in the second reading, St. Paul assures us that the Spirit of God helps us when we are weak. It pleads for us according to the will of God – it pleads for us that we may not be contaminated by evil but may be strengthened to turn evil into good. Stop saying that you cannot evil because of its magnitude and number.
Stop saying that it is not your fault that you persist in a particular sin; stop saying that your situation is inherited and so cannot be improved upon or solved. The first reading emphatically says this about God: “For you show your strength when men doubt the completeness of your power, and rebuke any insolence among those who know it”. Beloved, there are some take-home lessons for us today. One, we should learn to desist from rash judgment no matter how convince we may be. Time is able to heal almost everything because things and persons reveal their true nature with time. Before you conclude, take time to investigate with an open mind. Two, we must learn to have an update on the character of those around us. Because change is constant, a friend can become a foe and a foe can become a friend. Never close your mind to the subsequent actions of people around you due to the impression their earlier actions have made in you.
Third, it is not over until it is over. If you are standing, take heed lest you fall; if you are on the ground, rising is a possibility. Lastly dear friends, we learn too that when people offend us, we should give them the opportunity to make amends. The responsorial psalm tells us that God is good and forgiving – there lies the power of God. The power of God is proven in restoration not in destruction. If we must be truly great, we too must learn to forgive. God Bless You!
• Rev. Fr. Evaristus Okeke is a priest of the Archdiocese of Benin-City.