|Memorial of Saints Joachim
and Ann, parents of Mary
Ps 50:1b-2, 5-6, 14-15
" ‘Master, did you not
sow good seed in your field?
‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?'
This parable of Jesus can be so good for us today. "Where
have the weeds come from?" You and I ask the same question of God
whenever we are disappointed, discouraged, shocked or scandalized by the
fact that - in our world, in our church, in our family, and in our own hearts
- there's a mess. This is a great story to console us and guide us,
when we are tempted to shift into "clean-up" mode. This tendency to
rid ourselves of what is "impure" is deep in us. In its worst forms,
it can lead to the rejection of those who are different from us; it can foster
the tendency to destroy others through character assassination; and, of
course, it can be the "moral" argument for all war. We can even find
it difficult to tolerate our own inconsistencies and sinful habits.
So, what does Jesus want us to do? Doesn't he care
that things appear to be in a mess? It's just common sense to not
let the "weeds" get out of control, isn't it?
Jesus is quick to point out the Master's defense: "An enemy
has done this." Jesus wants us to remember that there is an
"enemy" of the work of the Father, and that is the Evil Spirit. The
Enemy would want nothing more than for us to tear the whole field up. A
family tearing each other apart, a parish divided by factions, bombing in
the name of peace, or an individual paralyzed by self-destructive guilt -
these are all the delight of the Evil Spirit.
I think Jesus wants us to let the Father be the judge. I
think Jesus wants us to be continually discerning what is coming from Holy
Spirit and what is coming from the Evil Spirit. He is warning us that
the Evil Spirit often deceptively comes "in the name of good" - as St. Ignatius
says, "as an Angel of Light." Of course, we should oppose evil. Of
course, we should name it and expose it. Of course, we should work
against evil in all its forms. Today's caution, however, is a good
one. The Enemy will take great delight if we end up being his
servant in causing an even greater mess, leading to even deeper evils.
Today is the memorial of Saints Joachim and Ann, the parents
of Mary, and therefore the grandparents of Jesus. Though we know nothing
about them from scripture it has been our long tradition to reflect upon
what they must have been like. It's nice today to long for the grace
that must have filled their lives - to raise a daughter "full of grace" who
would say, "May it be done to me according to your word."
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