The Justice and Mercy of our God!
Readings: 1st: 12:13. 16-19; Ps 85:5-6. 9-10.15-16; 2nd: Rom 8: 26-27; Gos Mt 13: 24-43
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
On this 16th Sunday of ordinary time, the church turns our attention to the Lord, the Just Judge, who through his mercy calls us to his kingdom. She also reminds us that, it Christ, and the Holy Spirit that help us in our journey towards God’s kingdom of justice.
In the first reading of today, Wisdom extolled God for being a just judge: “You never judge unjustly, your justice has its source in strength.” This is the nature of our God. In his mercy, he pardons us, and gives us new opportunities. Hence, Wisdom says: “…and you have given your sons the just hope that after sin you grant repentance.”
What must we learn from this? Quite simple! Since God in his justice shows us mercy (which is grace), we too, must do the same to others. Just as the Lord is kind in judgment to us, “…the virtuous man must be kind to his fellow men!” In order words, this is a call to take advantage of God’s mercy, and to emulate his sense of judgement towards others.
In the second reading, Paul highlights one very important ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He comes to help us in all our weakness. Surely, we are weak in many ways, especially, in prayer. Hence, “we do not know how to pray.” This is where the Holy Spirit comes to help us. He strengthens us in prayer, and equally, advocates for us before God. He alone can succeed where we fail, by presenting our needs in a way that God perfectly understand.
In the gospel, Jesus used three parables to teach us about “the nature of the kingdom, and God’s judgement. However, of these three parables, the parable of the weed and the darnel tells the whole story in one piece. Again, like in the parable of the Sower, one could ask: What good farmer would allow weeds to grow together with his crops? In this parable, he took what obviously seems to us a great risk. However, he allowed them to grow together so that the difference would become very clear.
God knew this before time began. So, He did not create two separate worlds, one for the “righteous,” and another for “sinners.” Rather, he allows all of us to co-habit together in this same world. Though obviously risky, this might be of some benefits. The righteous, learns from the misery of the sinners, and continues to struggle in order to remain virtuous. While the sinner seeing the triumph of the righteous, equally struggles to live a better life. However, Paul reminds us that: “Though we live in this world, we do not wage war as the world does” (2 Cor 10:3). Also,he warns us: “Do not be conformed to this world” (Rom 12:2).
Hence, by allowing this “dangerous and risky cohabitation,” God in his mercy, gives us the opportunity to repent, and prepare for the great day of harvest. The darnel survived the competition for nutrients and space with the weeds through the strength of its viability. So too, the righteous will survive in their struggle through Christ and the Holy Spirit who sustains, prepares and marks us for the great harvest for God’s kingdom.
So, the parable of the weed and the darnel shows how God, the just and merciful judge acts kindly with all his creatures. “Salvation and glory and power belong to our God…His judgment is true and just” (Rev 19:1;12).
Peace be with you all!