- Genesis 28:10-19a
- Psalm 139:1-11, 22-23 or Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
- Romans 8:12-25
- Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
It is an age-old question: why is there evil in the world? In the parable of the wheat and the weeds (King James Version = tares), Jesus suggests that both grow together until the harvest. With Paul, we long for the day that all creation will be set free from bondage and suffering. Having both weeds and wheat within us (like Jacob in today’s lesson from Genesis), we humbly place our hope in the promises of God and from the sustenance we receive at the Lord’s Table as we go forth to bear the fruit of justice. To do this we also must be willing to forgive.
Just like last week’s Gospel reading, Jesus again uses the metaphor of sowing and reaping, as he speaks of unfaithful and fallen individuals. Here he takes a stand for including doubters and obvious sinners. After Jesus tells this parable, his disciples come to him for an explanation. They are troubled, it is a parable of judgment.
The prerogative of judging the quality of someone’s relationship to God belongs to God alone. Matthew was not opposed to the use of discipline, but only God knows the depths of the human heart. We must not exclude difficult people from our fellowship. To do so would harm the fabric of the community. In our Baptismal discipleship, the church must reflect God’s patience and avoid passing judgment on others. We are also called to act and not sit on the sidelines when we see someone being treated unfairly.
In her book, The Pine Island Paradox, Kathleen Dean Moore makes a case that we need to develop what she calls a “moral ecology.” In the chapter titled “Nuts and Grubs,” she describes watching a scrub jay steal a nut from another jay. She connects the thief’s behavior to our current worldly mess, knowing there’s not much she can do about the global lack of trust. What she does is recover the purloined nut and place it back into it original hold, where the first jay can find it. “Sometimes,” Moore writes, “you have to take charge in your own backyard.” (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2004).
For reflection and action:
- What would peace and justice look like in our own backyards if we decided to take action?
- Where can we sow seeds of forgiveness, reconciliation, or comfort?
- The Episcopal Church offers a wealth of resources for confronting injustice and working with others to develop more social capital.