We read of the commitment and the joy of the early Christians who “received the word in good soil.” In time, the same people and their descendants were asking the question: “Why are my neighbours not accepting the same Good News?” Today’s reading attempts to answer that question.
The current environment of endless questions, seemingly wanton violence, ferocious drug taking, scorn for moral codes, constant support of individual rights and blatant refusal to contribute to the community that seems to be highlighted in the media, both public and social, can weigh us down and we may consider that the weeds have all the fun…and no responsibility for the welfare of society. Weeds often hide the wheat! There are still wonderful acts of heroism and of selfless contribution to our society.
The new Cardinal Anders Arborelius of Stockholm puts the dilemma in this fashion (incidentally, he is the first Cardinal in Northern Europe, even in the Middle Ages when all Europe was Catholic…says something, does it not): “We have to try to bring in our values, but we have to accept that somehow we live in a dialogue with a surrounding culture that is not totally how we want it to be, yet we still accept it.”
The Gospel message of patient tolerance and leaving to God the settling of scores is worth placing on the table for discussion. But let us add another word from Paul working the same dilemma in another culture…
“Creation still retains the hope of being freed, like us from its slavery to decadence” and “All of us who possess the first fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.” (Romans 8:18-23)
Wheat and weeds!
Maybe a word from the Book of Wisdom will help…
“God, you govern us with great lenience.
By acting thus, you have taught a lesson to your people.”
Once again may we LISTEN and then ACT.
P.S. I have been AWOL for a few weeks after the TEAMS conference in Brisbane (very positive) and exploring some of our northern Lands around warm Darwin. Monday is the 50th anniversary of the death of Cardijn. He and Caffarel worked together at the Second Vatican Council and had similar concepts about the role of the laity and clergy in the church: “accompany them let’s journey together.” The causes for both men for canonisation are being actively pursued.