July 28, 2020, Tuesday of the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time
Scripture: Matthew 13:36-43
Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!
The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
“Then the righteous will shine like the sun. . .”
During World War II, Hungary had largely avoided Nazi pressure to persecute the Jews until the spring of 1944, when Adolph Eichmann arrived on the scene. During six weeks of terror, from mid-May to the end of June 1944, Eichmann sent almost 450,000 Hungarian Jews to their deaths. Yet a Swedish diplomat named Raoul Wallenberg managed to get many Jews out of Hungary on Swedish passports. His tireless efforts saved around 30,000 people. His reward? When the Soviets rolled into Hungary, they took Wallenberg prisoner and he disappeared into a Soviet gulag. No one knows exactly what befell him. Despite efforts to get him released, he was never freed and he died, deserted and alone, in a Soviet prison or labor camp.
A cynic would say that no good deed goes unpunished. But today’s Gospel offers comfort to all the Raoul Wallenbergs of the world, and to all those who never were herded into cattle cars and dumped into gas chambers. Evil will leave its mark, but it will not triumph. It will not have the last word. No matter the degree to which justice is perverted, justice will in the end be done. Some wrongs will never be righted on this earth, but they will be righted —- not in our time, but in God’s. That is the point of the parable of the weeds and the wheat. The day of justice, though it tarries, will not be put off forever.
God of all Life and Love, this Gospel makes me fear the day of reckoning, but at the same time I find it also comforting. I don’t like to dwell on the face of evil in the world. Yet I cannot deny its existence and I cannot make sense of it. Jesus says in this parable quite plainly that the enemy is at work in the world sowing seeds of evil. But his own resurrection tells us the power of your love is stronger than the power of evil, and stronger also than death. In the end, your love wins. Lord, help me to believe this. Increase my faith.
“Explain to us the parable.”