XVI SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
wisdom 12:13, 16-19; romans 8:26-27; matthew 13:24-43 or 13:24-30
a woman, walking past her pastor’s house, saw a terrible scene through his window. she saw her pastor chasing his wife with a broom; the wife was screaming and running around. the pastor was beating his wife! she spread the news around town.
the pastoral council heard the scandalous news; they removed the pastor from ministry and informed him about their decision. the pastor silently accepted their decision, and said he wished to address the congregation the following sunday.
after service the following sunday, he invited his wife to speak. she said: «the council has fired my husband because someone said that he hit me. this is what happened: while i was cleaning, i saw a mouse. i screamed and started running around the room. my husband grabbed a broom and began to chase the mouse. and someone jumped to conclusions.»
jumping to conclusions is an exercise most of us get! we are quick to judge; we are intolerant and want to do away with wrong-doers… all without knowing circumstances/ facts/ motives.
this sunday’s liturgy strongly challenges these attitudes.
the first reading asserts that GOD’s power neither crushes nor oppresses. he is patient and merciful even with sinners; he gives people time to change. he asks his people to act with patience and tolerance towards one another, even their enemies.
the psalmist describes GOD as a GOD of mercy and compassion, who is slow to anger!
GOD’s patience with imperfection appears also in the gospel in the parable of the wheat and the darnel: the workers want to uproot the weeds. but the owner knows that wheat and darnel look identical to one another… until they ripen! and so he cautions the workers: «wait till all the facts are in; don’t jump to conclusions! else you might uproot wheat.»
today’s readings counsel patience… in the face of our failures; in the midst of our urge to fix things and make them right; in the face of our tendency to judge others and to act on those judgments.
in which areas do i need to be patient with myself? with whom do i need to be patient?
GOD is patient with us. let us be patient with ourselves, with others, with the world! let us stop jumping to conclusions.