Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!
Twenty-sixth Sunday after Pentecost (5th Epiphany)—9 November AD 2008
“But while men were asleep, [the] enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat.”

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in Latin and English
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany celebrated after Pentecost
Dóminica Quinta quæ superfuit post Epiphaniam

    The meaning of today's Gospel is rather clear. If anyone does not understand its symbolism, he need only read a little farther along in the thirteenth chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel. Our Lord explains that the planting of the weeds is representative of the sowing of sin among those who were created to love God in this world and in the next.

    The passage gives an understanding of why God permits sin and evil to exist in the world, alongside virtue and goodness. God generally refrains from interfering in earthly affairs, lest the good be disturbed along with the bad. Both are allowed to exist, side by side, and only at the end—at the final judgment—will God separate the good from the bad, the “wheat from the chaff;” gathering the weeds and cockle into hell for eternal burning destruction.

    This should help too, to refute the charge often times brought against Christianity and the Church by her enemies: It is often enough said that Christianity is false because not all of her people are good. God's enemies can even point to the members and leaders of the Church—and can correctly say that not all of them are good.

    But, we can see from today's Gospel that this is not proof that the Church is merely a human institution, or that it has failed in the task given it by God. On the contrary, it shows that our Founder, Jesus Christ, had a clear knowledge of human nature and what to expect from that nature in the future. It merely shows that the Church and its members are what our Lord predicted them to be.

    Yet, when we recite the Creed, we speak or sing of our belief in “One, HOLY, Catholic and Apostolic Church. How does this mixture of weeds and wheat—of good and bad—reflect the notion of holiness in the Church? How do we justify using this adjective in the Creed?

    To begin with, we can say that the Church is holy because our Founder is holy—indeed, He is holiness itself. Unique among all institutions, the Church can claim to be founded by God Himself, who had taken human form to deal with us directly. Many of the non—Christian religions don't even claim to be anything more than philosophies—simply attempts to explain the mysteries of existence. They make no claim that their founder was anything more than a clever human being.

    Most of the sects of Christianity can claim little more. They all point back to Christ as their founder, but insist that really proper Christianity didn't get off the ground until it was reshaped by their founder; be he Photius, or Luther, or Calvin, or Zwingli, or whoever.

    We see that the Church is holy in that it continues to teach only what we have received from almighty God. The history of the Church is a history of martyrdom, imprisonment, and heroic missionary activity—refusing to worship false gods, refusing false doctrine, and working unceasingly to spread the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is a history of refusing to accept anything other than God’s revealed truth.

    The Church clearly posses the means of holiness. Through the Mass and the sacraments, we are able to restore the union with God lost by Adam and Eve. Even if we ourselves fall from grace, we have the means to rise again through Confession and Communion. Perhaps, equally important, we have the means to grow in the graces of God —— not simply to “stay out of trouble” with Him. Through the Mass, the Sacraments, and the sacramentals, nearly every aspect of our life is sanctified and brought closer to God.

    And, the Church is holy in her members. We tend to publicize and remember the bad and forget the good. But, for every notorious sinner, bad priest, or unholy pope, the Church has produced hundreds or thousands of good ones. On All Saints day we commemorated the millions who have persevered in holiness; the martyrs, confessors, widows, and virgins; the priests, the pontiffs, and patriarchs; the hermits, the monks, the abbots—all of those who have demonstrated the holiness of the Church through their good and holy lives.

    To be sure, there are weeds, and cockle, and chaff amongst the wheat. There always will be. So much is implied in the parable we read today. But, none—the—less the Church remains holy in her Founder, her teaching, her sacraments, and in her people.

    And, particularly important to recognize is the fact that, unlike the weeds in today's Gospel, we have free will. Even if we have spent some number of years of our life growing up as chaff amongst the wheat, we have the ability—with God's grace—to change ourselves.

    If we look in the small circle of people around us, and the Church doesn't seem holy to us, we should consider whether or not this unholiness is largely our own fault. If it is, we can and should do something about it.

    We have the means of holiness. We can reform ourselves: We can keep the commandments. We can adopt the dispositions mentioned today by St. Paul: “mercy, goodness, humility, patience, modesty,” and so on. We can overlook one another's faults and idiosyncrasies. We can grow in the love of God, letting “Christ dwell in us abundantly, in wisdom, word, and work.”

    If we are unholy ... if the Church seems unholy around us ... we can do something about it. For, we are not weeds, we are not chaff, we are not cockle. Rather, we are human beings, created just a little bit below the angels, adopted sons and daughters of God.







Dei via est íntegra
Our Lady of the Rosary, 144 North Federal Highway (US#1), Deerfield Beach, Florida 33441  954+428-2428
Authentic  Catholic Mass, Doctrine, and Moral Teaching -- Don't do without them -- 
Don't accept one without the others!