HOMILY: 16TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME 2020
I worked hard at the beginning of gardening season. I spent almost two days to prepare the soil by ploughing manually which made my hands blistered and endured the scorching heat of the sun. I chose good variety of seedlings waiting patiently to see them growing and flourishing hoping that one day I will eat the fruit of my labour. It is my wish that at least once a year I will consume organic vegetables to keep me healthy and live longer. However, one morning I was greatly dismayed to find out that most of the plants were wrecked by an unknown garden predator. I tried to save and protect them but they were ravaged helplessly. For several days, I did not visit my garden and not even bothered to look at them from my window. It’s very discouraging, I pitied my plants. Later, I made up my mind. I continued cultivating them, if they survived thanks be to God, if they did not better luck next time. After several weeks, tough variety like spinach survived and they are giving me healthy green leaves for my table.
We are now on the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The gospel is all about the parable of the wheat and the weed. Likewise, the slaves were shocked to discover that weeds are outgrowing the wheat. In Palestine a poisonous weed known as darnel affects wheat crops. In the early stages of growth it looks very like the young shoots of wheat. By the time both plants can be distinguished, the roots are so intertwined so as to make tearing out the darnel will be very injurious to the wheat. The parable teaches us one of the vivid realities in life which is the co- existence of the good and evil. This evil is in our hearts chocking us while trying very hard to be good. Evil can be in a guise of discouragement. It seems that people who are not churchgoers are more fortunate than us. Evil can be in a form of impatience. Until now, it seems that nothing is happening to something I had been praying for a period of time. We can be deceived by evil through compromise. Instead of swimming against the current, we can be carried by the strong worldly current. The wrong became conventional because it is practiced by the super majority. This is precisely the struggle of Saint Paul, I did what I didn’t want to do and I didn’t do what I want to do. However, Jesus warns us, evil is still evil even if it is practiced by many and good will still be good even if it is not observed by one. In the harvest season, good will surely prevail over evil.
The perfect weapon against evil is no other than prayer. The brief extract from Romans says “the spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought but that the spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. Pray without ceasing, God is listening. Keep praying. Have you prayed groaning in silence begging for God’s help so that you can resist evil?
God is watching us from above to bring us right from below. The Book of wisdom rest assures us that “God judges with mildness and with great forbearance He governs us”. We have to remember that we were gifted with conscience and freedom. God knows that deep within our hearts, we can distinguish right from wrong and we have the ability to right the wrong. God’s mildness means that true children of God will eventually embrace Him over evil although He definitely knows that the fight is very far from over. Just keep blooming and glowing, we are all good seeds.