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Scripture Reflection 19 july 2020

A Reflection on Scripture Readings

A washing powder advert years ago boasted that their powder made clothes, “whiter than white” and promised that colours in clothes would not run. Maybe it was not fully accurate, but it did catch people’s attention and boosted sales.

There is always a danger of a parish being fired by an ideal to become a Church only of the pure, only of God’s elect. Jesus heard this aspiration from James and John when they suggested sending fire from Heaven that would destroy the Samaritans. [Lk 9:54]  

Today we have the same question asked about the darnel – ‘do you want us to go and weed it out?’ Some people then and some of us now, may be surprised at Jesus’ answer, ‘No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it.’ What is your reaction to this?

Perhaps it depends on what way you see the wheat and the darnel. In the parable, the master is above all interested in saving the good grain. He wants to give the wheat every possible chance. He will protect it at all costs. The workers are very aware of the amount of darnel that had crept in among good seed. They saw the weeds; the master saw the wheat.

In a parish, everything can be divided into two categories: good and evil, truth and error. The priest must also guard against this as much as everyone else. It is lovely to dream of a parish where all are good and virtuous. That sounds a lot like a community of Angels and not of humans carrying the traces of Original Sin. This is well expressed in, ‘It is possible to sense the presence of an angel and yet scent the devil.’ {Glenstal Bible Missal, p.451}

This side of Eternity, weeds and wheat will co-exist below and over the earth. Sects wish to have all of the same outlook and practice. In the Kingdom we are called to follow a path with many twists and turns. Fellow pilgrims will not all be to our liking. This is real. Ambiguities arise because we humans are complex and so is our calling by Jesus. A word that we may hear about a lot is “discernment”.

In a parish or in a person, there co-exists good and evil, positive and negative attitudes. We know that evil and negativity are not of God but are part of our experience. In the name of the good, the holy, (the wheat), we can simply take the high moral ground and demand the elimination of evil and teachings that do not fit into our framework. We can then slip into a ‘spiritual violence’ towards others. There may be no wounds visible but great hurt and damage can be done.

Another attitude that can be adopted is to discern evil but have patience. Jesus did not approve of uprooting the weeds; instead, we can try to be the ‘yeast that will leaven’ the flour of our broken and sinful world and church. We are sinners striving to be saints. Certainly, I have not got there yet. A good baker knows how to add the yeast to have maximum effect.

A critical mass of ‘yeast’, (goodness), in a person or a parish brings closer the emergence of the Kingdom that Jesus has come to establish.

In a parish community committed to this approach, the world is changed for the better and the Body of Christ thrives. If there is no sin or evil among us, Jesus could be seen as not being needed. But He is, more so than ever.

{Above only view of Aidan Troy, C.P.}





Saint Joseph's Catholic Church
50 Avenue Hoche
75008 Paris, France
33(0)1 42 27 28 56

Designed by Bruno Valades