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Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

Reflecting on Matthew 13: 24-33

What kind of person sneaks into a neighbor’s field and plants weeds? It’s a shocking example of the evil of which humans are capable. My dad told similar stories about the “dairy wars” during the Depression, when rival dairies would follow the delivery carts and place worms in the milk just delivered to the homes of Denver’s wealthy. My grandfather’s dairy lost its account with Molly Brown in just this way.

In the movies it’s easy to see into the hearts of those who do such obviously evil things. The bad guys know they are bad guys, and they tell themselves stories about imagined crimes against them in order to psych themselves up for the bank robbery or the murder for hire.

What kinds of stories do people tell themselves as they are breaking into someone’s home, or stealing the life savings of the elderly? If they were willing to dig deep they’d admit that someone has something they want, and the collateral damage that comes from obtaining it is, well, unfortunate.

They never admit that, of course. Even virtuous people will invent utterly transparent reasons to justify selfishness. If we could see that one truth―that each of us is capable, at times, of behavior that puts us squarely in the “bad guy” column― what grace that would be. Imagine what this world would look like if the humans planting weeds in fields just stopped and said, “Wait. What am I doing?”

We are all working to become, more and more, the fruitful field planted at our baptism. We trust that the Divine Harvester (using Dag Hammarskjold’s image), will keep the grain and, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.

How is the fruitfulness of your life overcoming some past selfishness?

Kathy McGovern ©2017

Ordinary Time - Cycle A

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