From the Tee Box
Memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Priest: Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
“With that, Moses' wrath flared up, so that he threw the tablets down and broke them on the base of the mountain. Taking the calf they had made, he fused it in the fire and then ground it down to powder,which he scattered on the water and made the children of Israel drink.” (From Exodus 32:15-24; 30-34)
I am reminded again today of Charleton Heston and the old movie, “The Ten Commandments.” If we look at that scene from the movie and the dramatic scripture today from Exodus, we might be tempted to think that the message is about God being a vengeful God who punishes severely. It is, in fact, about remembering and trusting. The Israelites weren’t bad people. They were just feeling discouraged. In that moment of discouragement, they experienced anger and disappointment. This leads to what appears to be revelry and sin.
For me personally I take it as a reminder of the unfortunate reality that we, at times, forget. We forget the bumps, pitfalls, and difficult moments through which God has carried us. Maybe we get discouraged and, like the Israelites, grumble and complain. Given the fact that today is a Monday, perhaps this could be our goal for the week: to stop and consciously bring to mind all that the Lord in His great love and mercy has carried me through. May our words and actions show that we have not forgotten but, in fact, remember. With all of the struggles that we’ve been through, we’re still standing!
Sunday of the Sixteen Week in Ordinary Time
“ 'Do you want us to go and pull them (the weeds) up?' He replied, 'No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, "First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.’ “ (From Matthew 13:24-43)
If there’s one reality that comes to mind for me today, it’s, “we’re all a work in progress. God isn’t done with any of us yet!” The parable of the weeds and the wheat is symbolic of 2 aspects of life: first, there are bad people in the world. There indeed are people who are consciously selfish and consciously hurt others. Along with this, there are also “things” in the world that are bad for us: bad behaviors, things that harm our health, and so on. For today’s reflection, however, the parable is symbolic of the reality that the kingdom of God here on earth is very much a mixed bag. All of us are weak and frail in some way, at times appearing to others more like weeds than wheat. Identify for yourself one person in your life who needs more patience from you. When the owner of the field says, “no, let them grow together until harvest,” this translates for us into, “be patient with one another. Take a deep breath along the way. Give each other a chance.”
None of us would be where we are today if it were not, in large part, for those along the way who did just that for us. Parents, for example, often take a deep breath and look at their child and are reminded, “He, she is a work in progress.” How many people have done this for me throughout my life! We grow together until the great harvest, the resurrection. In the meantime, we take our time with each other. We do take a deep breath. And we allow each other to grow into what God has created us to be.