Image: Our Lady of Good Hope, Fort Good Hope
Our reflection for this Sunday is provided by Roger Plouffe. Roger is a Lay Missionary for the mission of Our Lady of Good Hope in the community of Fort Good Hope. In today’s reflection Roger speaks about a very difficult problem that faces the communities in our diocese and how it relates to the Gospel parable about the wheat and the weeds.
Why, if Christ came to save the world, is there still so much evil? Today’s Gospel gives us a clue. The story uses a farming parable. One of the main teachings of this is that we need to be patient and trusting that the Creator is at work and things are getting better. Maybe a more northern approach may help.
Bootlegging is an illegal activity, it is, as the parable would suggest, a weed. We all wish that this activity would stop and that our communities would be healthier and “produce good wheat”. How and why does someone make decisions to become a bootlegger? Very often it revolves around poverty – the desperate situations we may find ourselves in – the power is about to be cutoff, no fuel to keep the house warm or even no food to eat. It can be an easy step to decide to make money, with lots of justifying that those people are going to get booze anyway, so why not from me. Does the bootlegger understand the consequences to the person buying? Sometimes the buyer then goes without food, or worse yet, drinks to the point that they can be abused or they themselves abuse. Those abused then turn to drink… the cycle continues.
We know that much of this cycle began when Colonialism thought their ways were the “wheat” of the world, not recognizing that what they were doing to the Indigenous peoples was in fact the “weeds”. Things are changing. Apologies have been issued, the stories are getting out, laws and attitudes are beginning to change and we are at the early stages of reconciliation. Can’t God just fix this instantly? God has given us free will, the ability to make our own choices. It is important that we understand that evil or the weeds of life are just as much a part of earthly life as the wheat, a consequence of us being given the freedom to make our own choices. That, though, is only half the story. The last two parables of the mustard seed and yeast are there to remind us that love or goodness is so much more powerful than evil.
In our hearts, there are likely weeds that grow alongside the wheat. We are still in the growing season of the Creator’s plan, so what is the harvest about where we hear of burning and fire? God tells us of a significant fire: The Spirit who descended on the disciples at Pentecost. It is the unstoppable flame that will burn, and this is the good news, all traces of weeds in the heart of every person, leaving only the good grain.
Perhaps we need to be compassionate towards ourselves: accept ourselves with the good and the bad. It will help us open ourselves to God whose grace will work like yeast and transform us and help us to be compassionate and less judgmental to our self and towards others. Evil is on its way out, be patient, God’s plan is working, and God’s love is always available to us, unconditionally. There is no limit to how many times we can ask God for forgiveness and it will be given.