Getting Ready to Pray
Whenever I finish a really good book and I haven’t found a replacement, I find myself wondering if the last good book has been written. I will never enjoy a well-written engaging book again. Woe is me.
In the Book of Lamentations, chapter three, it says that the favors of the Lord are not all in the past. We find it very difficult to let go of someone or something wonderfully good because we feel that the last great gift from God has, perhaps, now been unwrapped. Our disappointments and fear can keep our fist tightly closed to what just might be the next exciting installment of God’s gift of life.
As we prepare to do more than show up at the Eucharistic assembly, we might ponder the gifts we have received, by letting go of former gifts and then praying with God’s loving presents.
We hear of paradoxes and parables today in our readings. From the Book of Wisdom (First Reading) we hear a song of praise to the God of mercy and justice, the God of power and leniency. Mercy seems to be almighty power at its best and most revealing. Those familiar with God are called to trust the loving power of mercy, so that they need not be fearful. All this is summed up by the affirmation that God’s people rely on God’s patience, waiting for their repentance. There is divine expectation of us, but God invites us to expect powerful clemency.
Is God more just or merciful? The paradoxical God asks to be trusted and yet we do wonder if we are safe or in danger at times of being bundled like weeds for the burning.
Three parables challenge our imaginations while encouraging our faith in today’s Gospel. Jesus again uses simple every-day things to invite a response of faith from his hearers. The first parable is somewhat similar to last week's parable about the sowing of good seed. Jesus explains this one clearly, but only to his closest friends. Seeds and weeds are growing together while the sower planted only good seed: some enemy has done the weeds.
The “seed” is Jesus imbedded in the soil, the “humus” of our humanity. There is a part of our earthliness which wants to be left alone. It desires not to be tilled and cultivated and of course, weeded. The kingdom of darkness loves confusion and doubt. The “enemy” has taken part ownership of the field, or at least has taken out a lease. To whom do we belong? That very tension allows us to grow patiently into persons of true faith who know mercy is at the center of God’s kingdom.
The Lord keeps in our minds the wonderful things he has done.
He is compassion and love; he always provides for his faithful.