Homily by Father Paul Wharton
We have witnessed how evil men and their enablers cause incalculable harm and damage to the Catholic Church, across the world, in our country, and in our diocese. More recently, we have seen how evil men have abused their authority and killed a man, triggering riot and looting. Sadly, much of that violence was encouraged by people wanting to take advantage of the situation.
Why is this? How does this happen? Today’s parable of the wheat and the weeds have much to say on the matter.
- The world is made of saints and sinners, the good and the bad. The Church, too has people who prefer evil to good, sin to God. Not only that, but as individuals, we too sometimes struggle between choosing the way of God and the vices and distractions of the world.
- Jesus makes is clear here and throughout the gospels that we are not to judge others because only God knows what is in a person’s heart. We often judge others wrongly. But it seems so much easier to tear people down than to lift them up.
Then and now, there is a weed that looks virtually identical to wheat. The soil, sunshine, and rain help both wheat and weeds thrive. It seems that what Jesus says about the weeds in his parable applies to people in our world and in our lives who are bad influences. What this parable teaches evil people and bad influences can be summed up simply. They are:
- Deceptive — we may not see the danger until it is too late.
- Damaging — bad influences wear us down just as weeds take away water and nutrients away from the wheat
- Destined for Destruction — We profess our faith that Jesus come again to judge the living and the dead. We don’t like to think about death much less what happens next. We don’t write wills, buy cemetery plots or plan funerals. But that doesn’t mean we won’t be needing them one day.
God has given us the free will and freedom to choose life or death, the kingdom of God or the way of temptation and sin. Because God loves us, he has provided four spiritual tools to help us use this freedom well.
- Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation — Confession — we not only can see and hear that we are forgiven for our sins, but we are given grace to deal with temptation.
- When we receive the Eucharist — the Body and Blood of Christ — Jesus bolsters everything good in us. We can better see the deception in bad influences.
- The inspired Word of God in sacred scripture not only provides light to better see the way of God, but these words keep us better connected with God. When Jesus spent 40 in the desert, he used his knowledge of the Bible to defeat the ultimate bad influence who we call the devil.
- Finally, we can pray and call upon God, who always wants what is best for us, to deliver us from evil and overcome temptation
We live in a church and world filled with saints and sinners, good and bad influences. Use the sacraments, scripture, and prayer to choose wisely.