Wisdom and Weeds
By: Father Jim Valk CR, posted: 2014-07-21
I was in a classroom, at the back, while an art class was going on. A little boy in the back row was toying with the braids of a little blond haired girl in front of him, unbeknownst to her. He was ready to dip the braid in an inkpot when I touched his shoulder and gave him a disapproving look. He jumped up and quickly said: Father, the devil made me do it.
The gospel today addresses the presence of evil in our world. What do we do with it? How does goodness respond to the evil of our days? In so many of us the two things war back and forth, sometimes obvious, sometimes unconsciously. I’m sure that we have all see the comic strip where a teen is tempted to do the wrong thing. On one shoulder there is an angel saying “no!” while on the other shoulder a devil saying just the opposite. Which one wins? The answer of the guru is simple - whichever one we feed the most! So what choices do we make?
Our world today sees so much emphasis placed on the “weeds.” The media highlights the “weeds” at the expense of the “wheat.” Jesus was well aware of this diversity. The field contains both weeds and wheat. Get rid of the weeds, but at the risk of losing the wheat as well. While living in the Andes Mountains I saw a possible answer. There were 2 rivers coming out of the mountains. One river was crystal clear. The other river was muddy. Where they met, at full speed both continued to the ocean until finally the clear stream overtook the muddy waters. One good stream remained. It reminded me to trust in God and follow his lead. Jesus sees not just the weeds but also the good in the world. He goes beyond the appearances. Like him, do we go beyond the obvious to call the good out of others? Weeds and wheat are part of our lives. What we do with them makes the difference.
This may be difficult sometimes but Wisdom tells us the Spirit comes to us in our weakness. The devil on our shoulder might say something like “don’t get mad, get even” but the way of Jesus allows love to shape our response. A teacher was giving a hearing test to her class. For one girl who had trouble hearing it was a fear. To fail the test meant going to a different school. When her turn came she heard: “I wish you were my little girl.” That teacher changed her life. Can we hear God’s saying to us that same phrase? Do we know how much God loves us?
3 fathers were in the waiting room- their wives were giving birth. The nurse came in - who is Mr. Smith. Your wife just had twins. Amazing - I play for the Minnesota Twins. A second time, the nurse asked - who is Mr. Jones? Your wife just had triplets. Wow, what a coincidence - I work for 3M. With that the third man ran out. When the nurse asked why he was leaving he responded: “nurse, I work for 7 UP!” God accepts us as we are. Can we do that for one another, give life and hope to each other? Where today can we make a difference in the life of another? God’s emphasis is not in judgment but on mercy and forgiveness. God’s love for us is unconditional. We have only to respond in the same manner.
Today we don’t have to say: “the devil made me do it.” Today we have only to realize that God’s love makes all the difference. The measure of God’s love poured out for us helps us to love without measure. So let us trust that love will continue to go beyond what we do or expect.