Jeremiah 14, 17-22; Matthew 13, 35-43: St. Alphonsus M. d’Ligouri
The first reading from Jeremiah tells us about
However, we run to risk of eliminating the saints in wanting to eliminate the so-called sinners from society. Many saints are non-conformist and their criteria of action always run counter to the accepted norms of society. Take for example Augustine, Ignatius and Charles de Foucauld who all started as sinners. Even Jesus was like a poisonous weed: he appeared so scandalous to the pious and ‘religious’ men and women of his time.
I guess we can translate the thought of the parable from the field of the world to the field of the human heart. In reality, there is no human heart that is pure enough, totally good, or totally evil. It is sown with the wheat and the weeds in varying proportions and intensities. In the secrecy of our hearts, we easily discern the weeds from the wheat, the good from the bad intentions, the “false idols and gods” that have determined our lives --- as the first reading tells us. Similarly with our neighbor’s hearts, which we do not have total access. We can morally evaluate their actions: when they help us in our studies, we say that is a good action; when they gossip about us, we say that it is a bad action. But we know that sometimes our helping others can be for selfish reasons, like those who would like to be popular would help the star of the campus in order to belong to the popular group.
Thus, if God has shown himself infinitely patient with Israel, sending rain to both the good and the bad, and He has shown Himself infinitely patient with us, then we should show infinite patience with our neighbors, who like us, are struggling to eliminate what they do not like about themselves. And as in our struggles, they too need the support God gives to the human heart whose fields include even the poisonous weeds.