SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle A, Year I (July 23, 2017)
Wis 12:13, 16-19/Rom 8:26-27/Mt 13:24-43
William Barclay, a biblical scholar, says that the parable of the weeds teaches us some important and practical lessons in life. First of all, it teaches us that there is always a hostile power in the world, seeking and waiting to destroy the good seed. This hostile power is the power of the enemy which is the devil. Often times, we dismiss the idea of the devil because we do not feel or see him. Yet the devil exists and is doing his job to destroy the good seed that God has sowed in our lives. The devil makes use of things, events and people to lure us and separate us from the love of God. The lesson is that we must be on guard. Not everything that can make us happy is good. There are times that those that make us happy also separate us from Jesus. If this occurs, we have to remember that it is the work of the devil.
The second lesson of the parable is that it teaches us how hard it is to distinguish between those who are in the Kingdom and those who are not. The weeds appear like the wheat in their early stage of growth. People may appear to be good and yet they are actually bad or they may appear to be bad and yet they are actually good. We usually qualify people according to our personal biases but we have to remember that we do not have the capability to know all about anybody.
The third lesson is that it teaches us not to be so quick with our judgments. Since we do not have the full knowledge about a certain person, we have no right to judge such person. Moreover, a person changes as time passes by. A bad person of today can become a saint tomorrow just like St. Paul the Apostle and St. Augustine the philosopher. Or a good person of today can become an evil person tomorrow just like what happened to Judas the traitor and King Henry VIII of England. We must not then judge anybody.
The fourth lesson of the parable is that it teaches us that judgment does come in the end. We must not worry; there will certainly be a judgment day. We will all be judged in accordance with what we have done in this world. The basis of our judgment is the teachings of Jesus summarized into love for God and love for neighbor. During the judgment day, we will not be asked whether or not we have become successful in our studies, career, business, or whether we have become famous, powerful or rich. Rather, we will be asked if we have fed the hungry, clothed the naked, taught the ignorant, visited the sick and the prisoner, and helped the poor.
Together with the judgment day comes perfect justice, reward or punishment. Often times we are dismayed because of the injustice that is happening around the world. We even blame God because it seems that there is no justice in this present life. Indeed we have to work for a better justice system in our community or nation, but we have to remember that perfect justice can only be acquired in the second life.
The last lesson is that it teaches us that the only person with the right to judge is God. Only God has the full knowledge of who we are and only God has no defect. Therefore, He is the only one who has the right to judge us. He is our Creator, Savior and Sanctifier; therefore He is the only one who has the capability to judge us. Let us then not judge people and just wait till the end of time when the Just Judge, Christ the King, will judge us with mercy and compassion.