Notice During the Covid-19 Outbreak
In solidarity, we at the Interfaith Peace Project stand together in these times of heart break and upset. Some of you may have lost friends or family members. Some of you may have lost your job and your income; some may be working overtime to help with the crisis. Some of you may be home and alone and some may be trying to figure out a new way to live. Please let us know how we can help. If you would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call.You may call or email Tom at:
July 18, 2020
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July 18, 2020
The Gift of Weeds
A Reflection from the Christian Traditions
The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
Jesus was not formally ordained or commissioned by any authorized institution. He experienced God as his Loving Father in the deep and parental sense of that word. Not a day passed without Jesus experiencing the Father who has a Mother’s heart. The only credibility Jesus could claim came from his God who called him “Beloved” on the occasion of his baptism by John. Political authorities thought of him as a growing threat since he gave hope to peasants. Religious authorities thought of him as blasphemous since he thought of himself as born of God’s heart. What baffled many through the Centuries was the conviction of Jesus who saw all peoples as beloved of God, even those who would be enemies, hostile, or hateful. His standard is still seen by many as altogether too high if not downright unrealistic. We might need to forgive Jesus, after all, he was a peasant’s peasant!
Jesus was not a formal member of any impressive organization or prestigious community. A poor man looking for work in a Country devastated by war, exhausted by imperial threats, and frustrated by dreams that never became reality. Pope Francis reminds us to listen to the poor, they have something to teach us. Perhaps, we need to listen to Jesus as he spins another one of his challenging and transformative parables.
Jesus was, by our standards, a day laborer. He knew how to shepherd, plant, harvest, fish, and repair. His business sense was questionable since his way of conducting business was not for profit. He thought the business of business was to do something beneficial for others at his own expense.
When his disciples complained about the “weeds” infecting the green pastures of the community, Jesus invited them to let the weeds grow together with the wheat. Obviously, the crop would be more profitable if the weeds were exterminated. Jesus, however, sensed an opportunity in this rather dire situation. We like pure communities with no weeds or, at least, the weeds under control. Jesus made the remarkable statement, “Let them grow together!”
Not only does this call for great patience, it demands great courage, creativity, and guts. What benefit can possibly come from mature weeds? Traditionalistic interpretations suggest the weeds will be burned while the wheat will be stored in barns. This is the old idea of reward and punishment. Jesus, however, may have been thinking of something translations miss. Remember, parables by their nature anticipate the unexpected reversing the typical ways of thinking and acting.
Perhaps, the weeds will be bundled to provide the fuel for the fire that will bake the wheat into bread. Then the hungry will have something to eat rather than the powerful have something to resent. Jesus was a master of the parable because he lived close to the Earth, the sky, and the lake. His labor was the labor of hard-working people who had life as their teacher. Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God in terms of the harsh and beautiful realities of life.
“Let them grow together” is one of those challenging sayings of Jesus that invites us to be kind to the “weeds” otherwise we might never have the fire to become bread for one another.
Blessings to you. Holy Community, for sharing your bread and becoming the bread you share in the fires of your own blood, sweat, and tears.