Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wheat, Weeds, and a Tax Collector

I got involved in a discussion today when someone asked, I think rhetorically, if the weeds were going to grow with the wheat until the harvest.

I live in a small town in Central Minnesota - we're more corn and cattle than wheat around here, but the agricultural realities are the same. One of the frustrations of farming is that it's hard to distinguish the crop from the weeds - and I'm not going to get sidetracked with a discussion of herbicides and agribusiness.

Where was I? Wheat. Weeds. Harvest. Right.

That 'wheat and weeds' question refers to Matthew 13:24-30, where Jesus makes a point by describing a farmer who lets weeds and wheat grow together until the harvest, because he wants to be sure that no wheat is mistaken for a weed.

The question about wheat and weeds gets answered fairly clearly:
"Let them grow together until harvest; 11 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.' "
(Matthew 13:30)
I don't mind the idea that wheat and weeds will grow side-by-side at all: since I've looked a whole lot like a weed, from time to time.

I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only person in that position, and I'm quite willing to wait until I face my Lord and get sorted out. ("Particular judgment" is the technical term for that. More in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1020-1022, 1051)

Terribly 'Virtuous' Folks, and a Man With Sense

Then there's the Luke 18:9-14 thing, where Jesus told about a Pharisee who was quite thankful:
" 'The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, "O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity--greedy, dishonest, adulterous--or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income." ' "
(Luke 18:11-14)
You know how that parable ends: the tax collector, who's got a much more realistic understanding of the situation and simply asks for mercy, comes out as the preferred role model.

Being Right, Acting Right, and Remembering Who We are

I've noticed that people don't, as a rule, react well when someone else insults them and ridicules their beliefs. People don't seem to appreciate condescension, either: not when they're the object of it.

Given my beliefs and way of life, I'm apt to tune out someone who refers to me as one of those "crazy religious people," and explains that anybody who thinks that God exists is obviously quite unintelligent. What can I say? I'm a human being.

Folks living in this world who aren't exactly like me - aren't really all that different, either. As I've written before, "those heretics may not like being called heretics." Technically, I've been a heretic for a substantial portion of my life. I didn't know that I was, and converted to Catholicism after I figured out what the score was: but the fact remains that I haven't always been a Catholic: and thus was, in a sense, a heretic.

The process of my conversion might have taken longer - or not happened at all - if I'd been harangued by some Catholic equivalent of a fire-and-brimstone preacher. I know that I'm a sinner - and that we're all in need of God's mercy. I'm not impressed when someone else seems to think that he and his buddies are the good guys, and that folks who aren't just like them - well, aren't.

Railing about 'those sinners over there' and extolling the virtues of folks who agree with me might feel good. But on the whole, I'd rather not explain why I indulged in that sort of self-righteousness to my Lord, when I meet Him one-on-one.

I don't think he approves of that sort of thing.

Communicating When Not Everybody's Just Like Me

I've put together another set of posts, in "What do I Really Feel About [___]," on communicating:

2 comments:

Brigid said...

You've got some extra punctuation here:

my barn.' " ' "

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

Got it, thanks!

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.