What a summer it has been already re-connecting with family members
throughout the country. This summer also occasioned an amazing trip
to the land of my birth, Cuba. Today’s readings help me to reflect
on these two important experiences of my life this summer and direct my prayer
I am intrigued by the Master’s answer in today’s gospel parable when asked
if he would like the weeds pulled: “No, if you pull up the weeds you might
uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until
This is a dilemma I faced in my own garden. I effectively dislodged
the roots of some very promising beets when I returned from vacation and
enthusiastically attacked the succulent weeds growing among them. Hmm…
I should have read this parable earlier. In my impetuousness, I did
not see the stability the weeds were offering these colorful veggies of mine.
I do not always take time to observe carefully, nor do I have the ability
to see all of what is really going on.
The gospel today invites me to slow down and take stock a bit. What do I
give my energies to? How much energy am I spending on judging others,
‘writing off’ some, criticizing others? How much time did I take at
the reunion with the less attractive family members, with the ones who are
struggling more, with those who think differently than I do politically and
religiously? How much am I willing to invest in these relationships?
What do I do with the lack of desire to love those who appear less lovable
In the first reading, Jeremiah invites this kind of judging, we could say
examination, of our own spiritual practice. It is all about how we
treat each other, how we treat the least as Fr. Hamm clarified on July 16.
What a call to reform!
What a hard lesson.
There is but one Judge… who will recognize the wheat at harvest time.
God wills all to be saved. God loves all. God lets the sun shine
on all and the rain shower on all lifestyles and priorities, belief systems,
personalities and behaviors. Let me be an instrument of love,
not of condemnation or rejection.
I experienced this kind of faith practice in the Church of Cuba. My
family and I had the opportunity to worship with and visit with two small
parish communities, with religious and lay leaders, with a young Cuban Jesuit,
a young Mexican Oblate Missionary, with Dominican adult educators in Havana,
with the bishop and diocesan staff of Cienfuegos and with diocesan and Caritas
staff in Santa Clara. We met the master who is nurturing the wheat
in the field, inviting all, serving without judging, worshiping through care
for the least and boldly proclaiming hope and love in communities of faith,
support and growth.
Okay, Dear God, I know I cannot love all the relatives in my family.
I cannot even love my own children as they deserve to be loved. Accept my
desire to be your instrument and continue to work in my life. Thank
you for the readings today, reminding me that you do have infinite love for
the attractive and unattractive, those who agree with my views and those
who don’t. Thank you for the witness and my opportunity to experience
your powerful, redemptive love alive in the Church of Cuba. Continue
to transform us all into better instruments of your unconditional love, of
justice and compassion.