Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.

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“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until the harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matt. 13:24-30)

The parable teaches us that the Kingdom of God is a mixed bag. It is composed of saints and sinners. The Church is not a showcase for saints, but a refuge for sinners. Jesus came not for the just but for the sinners. Catholic means universal. A fact which is evident at Sunday Mass in a large city where there are young and old, learned and simple, rich and poor, white and black, easterners and westerners, saints and sinners.

The Kingdom is a mixed bag because reality is a mixed bag. “Only one is good, God.” Good and evil are found together. Each one of us is a mixed bag. There is within each one of us the law of the body warring against the law of the mind.

“Let them both grow till the harvest.” It is hard to discern the wheat from the weeds. Their root systems are so entwined it is virtually impossible to uproot one without uprooting the other. It is hard to discern the saint from the sinner. We judge by appearances. Our judgment is superficial. We cannot read the mind and the heart. We do not have all of the data. “There but for the grace of God go I.” If I had been put in the same circumstances of the one I am judging, I may be much worse. And if he had been given all the gifts and graces I have been given he would be greater than I.

Even if we knew all of the data we are not the judge. The judgment belongs to God alone. As Jeremiah tells us, “More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart, to reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merits of his deeds.” (Jer.17:9-10) Our friends judge us to be better than we are and our enemies judge us to be worse than we are. Only God know the real me.

“Let them both grow till the harvest.” God is patient and merciful. He wants everyone to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. There is always the possibility of conversion.

If Simon Peter had been uprooted when he denied three times that he even knew Jesus there would be no St. Peter. If Saul had been uprooted while he was on his way to Damascus to persecute the Christians there would be no St. Paul. If Thomas had been uprooted when he refused to believe that Jesus was risen there would be no St. Thomas.
And what about Augustine, Francis, Ignatius? What about us? If we had been uprooted when we were sinners this room would be empty.

“Let them both grow till the harvest.” And at the harvest there will be many, many surprises.

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