Saturday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
In the reading from Exodus, I have to wonder how many of the eager and zealous Israelites, crying out their obedience to the Lord, were looking around at one another thinking, “Yeah, right, he doesn't mean that, I heard him complaining as we came through the desert.” Despite those silent accusations, how many of them, I wonder, would find themselves worshiping the Golden Calf not long after this? Though in all honesty, would I be any different? Would you? Our memories of others faults can last forever, while our foresight to see our own can be so short. In this way, we love neither neighbor nor God.
The great commandment of the Gospel and Moses' actions with the blood of the sacrifice (our binding covenant with God) require us to lovingly give to God and to others. Giving to God is often our love in the form of praise, adoration, trust, and service. Our giving to others is often our love in the form of mercy, patience, service, and respect. But how often do we lack that mercy, patience, and respect.
Think of the times that we cry out, almost vengefully, because of injustice in the world. Not thirsting and hungering for righteousness, but for retribution. The times that we are so quick to call others' shortcomings to attention as if they are the most grievous of faults, while ignoring our own. It is those times that we must remember Christ's parable of the Wheat and the Weeds. That parable would have been useful for any of the accusing Israelites.
Christ makes it very clear that there will be good and there will be evil in His Kingdom here on earth. He also tells us that no matter what happens here, justice will be done in the end. In the parable, there could be a certain impatience in the servants request to pick out the weeds. A well-intentioned impatience for some, and for others, perhaps an impatience that is concerned with their reputation. Either way, we too are capable of that impatience. Other times we feel that the government and the Church can move too slowly or fail too drastically in their pursuit of justice and the use of discipline. For some this can create a weakening of Faith because of the failures of Christ's servants, not because of Christ.
Christ is first calling us to patience and understanding, because what we perceive as a weed might pull up some wheat. But He is also asking us to trust. He wants us to trust that no matter where His servants fail because of overzealous action or slothful inaction, He will prevail. Justice will be done. And if we, through the covenant of His blood, cry out with each other and for one another that “All the Lord has said we will heed and do,” then we too may hope to be gathered into His barn.
- Spencer Hargadon