Judgement Belongs to God

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The WORD in other words (2022) by Fr Antonio Pernia SVD – Divine Word Mission Institute Tagaytay

Saturday 16th Week in Ordinary Time

Like all other parables of Jesus, today’s Gospel parable of the “wheat and the weeds” is also about the kingdom of God – or God’s promise of a new world built on justice, peace, reconciliation, and love. In particular, this parable underlines the so-called “Already and Not-yet” character of God’s kingdom – that is, the kingdom is ALREADY present, but NOT YET in its fullness. Our age is precisely the age of the “Already and Not Yet.” In this age, wheat and weeds grow together in the same field. Evil and goodness co-exist in the world.

In this situation, most of us would react like the servants who wanted to pull out the weeds. Different, however, is the reaction of the owner of the field. He says: “No, if you pull out the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest.”

As we know, wheat and weeds are almost indistinguishable from each other as growing plants. It is only when they are fully grown that one can see the difference. Only then, at harvest time, can weeds be separated without doing damage to the wheat.

The message of the parable is therefore about God’s infinite and compassionate patience in allowing the weeds to grow along with the wheat. And so, today’s Gospel reading invites us to learn patience, humility, and gentleness in our relationship with others. For in this present age, it is difficult to be fully certain about what is good and bad, or who is good and bad. Often we think we are the good ones and the others are the bad ones. So, we cannot go around being self- righteous and judgmental. In the end, judgment belongs to God at “harvest time.”

This also applies to our individual selves. For the wheat and the weeds can co- exist not just in the world but also in ourselves. And we can also be impatient with the weeds in our lives – our shortcomings, failures, and sins.

Today’s Gospel reading also tells us that we need to be patient and gentle with our weaknesses, limitations, and sinfulness. We need to allow the wheat and weeds in our life to co-exist so that the evil in us may purify and strengthen the good in us, and make it grow even stronger and more fruitful.

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