Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wheat and Weeds, Decision and Patience

Tuesday's Gospel reading on the parable of the wheat and the weeds gave me another opportunity to revisit the Pope's reflections in a recent Angelus address.

Here it appears that Francis draws on the famous observation of the great Alexander Solzhenitsyn that the line separating good and evil is not found between nations or parties or classes, such that we could fix the problem of evil simply by eliminating the people on the wrong side of the line. Rather, Solzhenitsyn observes that this line passes right through the human heartevery human heart.

Francis uses this parable of the wheat and the weeds in order to draw our focus to the perennial circumstances of the world and the power of the redemption to win the victory of evil by purifying our hearts according to God's wisdom:
"With this image Jesus tells is that in this world the good and the evil are so intertwined that it is impossible to separate and extirpate all the evil. God alone can do this, and He will do so in the Last Judgment. The present situation, with its ambiguities and its composite character, is the field of the freedom, the field of the freedom of Christians, in which the difficult exercise of discernment between good and evil takes place. 
"Therefore, in this field, it is about combining, with great trust in God and in His Providence, two seemingly contradictory attitudes: decision and patience. The decision is to want to be the good seed — we all want thiswith all our strength, and, hence, distancing ourselves from the Evil One and his seductions. Patience means to prefer a Church that is leaven in the dough, who does not fear soiling her hands washing the clothes of her children, rather than a Church of 'pure ones,' that pretends to judge before the time who is an who is not in the Kingdom of God.
"The Lord, who is Wisdom incarnate, helps us today to understand that the good and the evil cannot be identified with defined territories or specific human groups: 'These are the good, these are the evil.' He tells us that the boundary line between the good and the evil passes in the heart of every person, passes in the heart of every one of us, that is, we are all sinners.
"Jesus Christ, with His Death on the Cross and Resurrection, has freed us from the slavery of sin and He gives us the grace to walk in a new life. However, with Baptism He has also given us Confession, because we are always in need of being forgiven for our sins. 
"To look always at the evil that is outside of us, means to not want to recognize the sin that is also in us....
"May the Virgin Mary help us to pick up in the reality that surrounds us not only the filth and evil but also the good and beautiful; to unmask Satan’s work but especially to trust in God’s action that makes history fruitful."
~Pope Francis, Angelus, Sunday July 23, 2017