Notes: “However, if we exclude the possibility of conversion by too literal an interpretation of the text, we face the theological absurdity of a parable within the Gospel that presents a Christian view of the world in which the very essence of the Gospel, metanoia (conversion)… is an impossibility.”
“The whole Gospel consists in God’s invitation for us to join in this exodus from demonic darkness into divine light, which is … God’s most passionate desire for us”.
“God’s Being can embrace for all eternity only what has become like himself, that is, what has come to share in His own nature as fiery love”.
A couple of months ago I saw Beauty and the Beast. I loved it, but I was surprised that it included some new songs. One of those songs was entitled “Days in the Sun”. I was captured by this songs depth. It allowed those watching the movie to experience what the servants of the castle were experiencing. They longed for transformation. They longed to be transformed back into human beings; as most of you know, the servants of the Castle had become material items (clocks, candlesticks, wardrobes etc.) they were no longer human. Why? Because they were included in on the curse that turned the young prince into a beast. This may seem unfair to us, but Mrs. Potts explains that they were all responsible for the man that the prince had become, and as a consequence, they too were ‘punished’ for their sins… So this song, Days in the Sun, expresses their hope that one day they will be human again: Days in the sun will return, we must believe, as [people who love] do, That days in the sun will come shining through…
This weekend, we too, are called to long for our own transformation. In our first parable, the servants come back to the Master, the sower of the field, and ask: Master, should we remove the weeds that the evil one has planted? He says emphatically, No! Why? One reason could be that the servants were unable to distinguish from the weeds and the wheat. The particular weed mentioned would resemble wheat in its early stages of growth. So, the master sends back the servants to the fields not to purge it, but so that the servants themselves will grow and mature in the process.
Jesus, this weekend, is asking us to listen carefully to the words of the parable: He who has ears, let him hear — In other words, Jesus is warning us “against understanding” this parable “as clearly defining ‘us the saved’ (wheat) over ‘them the damned’” (weeds). This parable can lead us to categorize ourselves too quickly. Some of us hearing it immediately might think, “well, of course, I am one of the good ones, I am among the wheat!” Those in this situation, believe they have already become saints, that they are no longer in need of conversion. Conversely, some of us hearing this Gospel might think, “well, of course, I am one of the evil ones, I am among the weeds.” Those in this situation, usually are despairing of God’s love, and sadly, view themselves as lost already…
But here’s the reality check, we are all in fact still in the process of maturation. We are the servants sent back into the fields called to be transformed. For the servants in the Gospel, it was too early for them to tell which of the crop was weeds and which was wheat. The same is true for us. But! The purpose of the Gospel, we hear from Jesus over and over again, is to Repent and believe in the Good News – to be transformed! Jesus is serious in his challenge! He wants us to seek transformation. This means actively responding to God’s grace in overcoming the sins in our lives.
We hear in our first reading that God is patient. We hear also that God judges with mercy. We also hear that God gives His children good ground for hope that He would permit repentance for their sins. Yes, God is serious about repentance. Yes, God is serious about us turning away from our sinful lives. But God is also patient. I am reminded of one of Pope Francis’ most beautiful comments regarding God’s mercy: God never tires of forgiving us; we tire of forgiving ourselves. Whenever we recognize that we have fallen off track, and are in need of God’s mercy, we have the beautiful gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation to put us back on track.
Friends in Christ, if we want to join the kingdom of heaven, the place that our parables speak about today, the place that God desires for all of us, then let us have hope. Let us have hope that the God who has become man, can surely change each us. Christ indeed has the power to change each of us from weeds and the power of the evil one, into wheat as children beloved by God. For Christ assures us in the Gospel that one day we will shine like the sun in the kingdom of our Father.
May the Eucharist we receive today, transform us and make us more like Christ, so that when the day of God’s kingdom arrives, God will recognize us as one of His own.
In Christ’s Friendship,