SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A)

Wisd 12:13, 16-19; Rom 8:26-27; Matt 13:24-43 (13:24-30)

In the gospel of St. Matthew chapter 22, verse 39, Jesus says: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” How about if we change the word ‘love’ into ‘judge’ and let us reformulate the commandment like this: “Judge your neighbor as yourself.” What will be you reaction?

It is because this is what happens in our gospel today. The laborers make their own judgment by saying, “Do you want us to go out and pull them up,” (v.28)?

Without your noticing it, day-by-day we classify people around us into two types: the wheat which is the good people and the weed which is the bad people.

Fr. Ruben Villote had a beautiful description of what weed and wheat in Tagalog. For him those wheat people are those who regard us with respect and who treat us as persons with dignity and worth. In other words only those who have magandang kalooban (goodwill) and minamahal natin (that we love). The word minamahal is from the root word mahal which means high-priced and costly. The weed people are those who regard us as of no value and as contemptuous. In other words only those who have masamang kalooban (ill-will) or ‘nagmumura.’ Nagmumura is from the root word mura which means low-priced or cheap. We want these people to get out of our way because being mura is nakakahiya (shameful). It is a situation to be avoided at all costs. Many Filipinos are known to violate religious and moral norms and laws secretly in order to avoid ‘kahihiyan,’ (shame).

Another reason why we want these weed people to get out of our way is because of our anger. But remember this: anger is one of man’s most devastating sins. This is one sin which everyone is capable of committing. According to Billy Graham, “Anger is the parent of murder. It cocks the assassin’s pistol, dispenses the killer’s poison and sharpens the murderer’s dagger.” According to Swami Sivananda, “Anger begets eight kinds of vices. All evil qualities and actions proceed from anger. If you can eradicate anger, all bad qualities will die by themselves. The eight vices are: injustice, rashness, persecution, jealousy, taking possession of other’s property, killing, harsh words and cruelty.”

But according to Aristotle: “Anybody can become angry, that is easy; but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose and in the right way that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.

Again according also to Thomas Jefferson, “When angry, count ten before you speak, if very angry a hundred.”

I give you some tips on how not to judge and how to handle your anger.

First is to be patient. I believe that patience is as necessary for life on earth as air and water. Genuine patience makes no exceptions: it greets all, is kind to all, speaks to all and serves all. It forgivers injuries, is generous in almsgiving, kind in fraternal corrections because when we have to correct someone, we must exercise patience, gentleness, await the right time, do it in a kind way and prune to tolerance. Patience does not exclude anger.

Second is, be compassionate. We overcome the evil in the world by charity and compassion. St. John Chrysostom advised: “”Do you wish to receive mercy? Show mercy to your neighbor.” We can show that mercy and compassion through forgiveness those who have wronged us because Christ taught us to forgive, not seven times but seventy times seven times. In other words, it should be forever.

According to George Kaitholil, “we should forgive and forget all about the offences. If you do not forget, your forgiveness is not complete and the offence keeps on knowing your inside. Forgive with all your heart; a merely formal forgiveness is no forgiveness at all, it does not eliminate the bitterness from within. It is to say one thing and think another.”

Third is, do not eliminate the weed people. It is because if we go deeper, the field is the world but we can interpret it also by saying that the field is the human heart. In reality, the human heart is totally good and totally evil. It is sown also with wheat and weed with varying proportions and it is the theater of a gigantic struggle between God and Satan. These two protagonists endeavor in every way to secure our adherence to their respective kingdoms.

As regards to other hearts, the case is entirely different to which we have no access. I can, no doubt, evaluate the actions of my neighbor when he helps me, I can say that this is a good action. When he strangles me I can say that this is a bad action. But I can, in no way, express an option as to his spiritual state at the moment he is performing these actions. Maybe he’s helping for a very selfish motive or his strangling with me is justifiable. That is why Jesus stops to uproot the weeds.

And also to eliminate sinners, which are the weeds, from the society is tantamount to eliminating not only actual saints but also potential saints.

On the other hand, nothing is totally perverted. Even the blackest heart is not totally black. God gives to the least the seedling of every opportunity for sprouting and becoming a beautiful ear of grain. God is so patient in waiting them to grow. How much more for us? Patience is the virtue that we all need today. The problem is, we want instant results, instant solutions to the problems. Maybe this is the reason why we have instant coffee, instant milk, instant noodles and even instant baby.

So each one of us who are here, what are our reasons why we want those weed people to be uprooted in the field? Can we do what Christ has commanded to us as His followers to be patient and have compassion with those we consider as weed people?

See Today’s Readings: Cycle A

OPTION  01,   02,   03,   04,

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