God’s compassion and forgiveness are offered … but our stubborn behaviour can prevent us receiving them
As Jesus explained in the Gospel, the field is the world: the good seed are the people who follow God’s call to love and forgive, etc.: those who become disciples. While the darnel are things and people that interfere with the lives of the disciples: hopefully, you are a disciple.
Now, who is the enemy? The Devil? The devil is a personification of evil thoughts and actions (=making a thing into a person). So where does evil come from? Fr Richard McAlear OMI, said: evil is not something over there, but the deceitful thoughts that come out of our minds and hearts: deceit that leads to selfish actions, or misuse of our power.
And how easily it can happen. I recall as a boy on the farm shooting kangaroos because they were many and were destroying the crops. But as a boy of 13 or 14, I remember the thrill of the power I had in my hands as I fired dad’s .243 rifle and saw my “enemy” fall over.
As I grow older, I look back with a bit of sadness.
For teenagers we see the struggle of misusing their power in cases of bullying. What are some of the evil obstacles sown by the enemy? Drugs, pornography, money, fame? Perhaps they can be summed up in our desire(s) to possess that which others have.
The Darnel and the Wheat, symbolise the “good” and “selfish” in each of us. What do weeds do? They suck water and nutrients from the soil around them (our world), depriving the wheat (“good” people) of the necessary good that every person needs.
If we are honest with each other, we are not totally good 24/7: there are occasions when most of us are selfish. However, it’s not simple, what looks like selfishness to one person may be survival for another person.
When we think about possessing that which belongs to others, we usually think of material things, but the most destructive desires are for love and security, which drives our desires. Today, we see increasing reports of domestic violence, which is usually a desire for love, and the frustration one partner feels (insecurity?), when that love is slow to come when they want it. We also see a big increase in training and awareness of “consent” in relationships.
The love taught to us by Christ, is the sacrificing love we should have for others. It’s not a weird way of living. It’s the best way to be able to receive love, freely given, from those whom we have loved in a self-less, sacrificing way.
Much of domestic violence is caused by people who NEED the other person to love them in an amount and at particular times that they DEMAND, but the other cannot give.
In some ways domestic abusers are victims, also, who may not have received proper love as children. Religion, and Christianity in particular, helps us rise above what we didn’t receive properly in the past, and so be able to give and receive love in the present.
The patience of God, and the compassion of God, remind us that God knows that each of us is a work in progress. As Max Lucado said: “God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus.”
It takes a strong and loving person to be able to love someone who has abused another. But God does that for us: God sees our goodness. God wants our transformation so we can feel true love, even if it takes our lifetime to achieve.
The challenge, for many of us, is to become more like God so that we can help others transform and be more capable of giving love in a way that is more self-less: for the good of the other.
In other words, we are called to be more understanding toward others. I believe this is becoming more demanding due to the increasing number of families which break up, and young people falling through the cracks.
There’s an amazing ongoing study in New Zealand – and it started 40 years ago: The Dunedin Study, where 1,037 babies born in 1972/73 at Dunedin, participate in a study to monitor their physical, psychological and social lives. Extraordinary insights have been discovered about things at a young age being accurate predictors of future events.
This knowledge can help us understand more, so we can develop empathy and compassionate responses toward other people. Some people carry problems from long ago caused by other people or nature: and, sometimes, it’s hard to change.
The Dunedin Study estimates that people fall into the following personalities: 40% well-adjusted, 28% confident, 15% reserved, 10% under-controlled, 7% inhibited.
I pray this week, especially, that we might listen more, and seek knowledge about situations and people, so that we can act more justly in relation to others.
By Gerard Conlan, OMI