The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe
Week XVI, Year, 17 July 2011
Wisdom 12:13,16-19 /// Romans 8:26-27 /// Matthew 13:24-33
Last Tuesday, I went to the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City to visit Nikki, youngest daughter of a very dear friend. She’s in her early 30’s and was due to fly to the East Coast last month when she was diagnosed with a kidney disease in need of a transplant.
Nikki does not question God about her situation; what she’s more bothered with is the infighting among some relatives over the fortunes left by her Lola: “would they still change, Tito Fr. Nick?”
Of course, I told her, they would still change but we don’t know when; and, that’s when Nikki asked me the very question we often ask: “why does God allow these kind of people to prosper and even lord over others trying to be good?” It is also the very same question that the people from the Old Testament to our present time pondered most often.
The author of the Book of Wisdom in the first reading beautifully explains to us why God the Almighty refuses to use His powers to zap the evil ones: “But though you are master of might, you judge with clemency, and with much lenience you govern us; for power, whenever you will, attends you. And you taught your people, by these deeds, that those who are just must be kind; and you gave your sons good ground for hop that you would permit repentance for their sins.” (Wis.12:18-19)
I am a big fan of Chinese kung fu movies since childhood and had always wondered about that standard line among masters telling their students never to use their martial arts unless necessary. Though it had always been vague with me when is necessary a necessary, I have always thought that kung fu is for self-defense. Later in life as I met a lot of Chinese from mainland China at UST did I realize fully that kung fu is about discipline, of avoiding fights and not harming anyone. According to my Chinese friends, they have been taught by their elders that whenever a person resorts to brute force, that means he had ran out of sanity.
Are we not like that when we throw our weight around, literally and figuratively speaking, just to insist on our beliefs and whims? Have you experienced how some people, especially those who would bully or have power trips become so irrational? Simply put, the first to punch, the first to use force even intimidation is always the first to ran out with reasons. Just read the newspapers or watch the television news or observe the people around you at home or at work and you will surely see what I mean. The funniest thing about it is the fact that we often do it!
Now, that is the exact opposite with God as reflected upon by the author of the Book of Wisdom: God chooses to be merciful and lenient because He is, indeed, the “master of might” that is why He could control His powers. We mortals give into our emotional outbursts and ego trips because we are weak. We can’t reason out using our brains so, we choose to cover it up by flexing our muscles, even lashing out others with our tongues and big mouths. What happens next is destruction of our very selves, of our relationships including of our environment.
Again for the second straight week, Matthew presents to us another parable by Jesus, that of the weeds among the wheat. As we have explained last week, a parable is a way of teaching us of the most profound truths of God, of our selves, and of life using the most simple and ordinary things in life. Matthew beautifully noted that “He spoke to them only in parables, to fulfill what had been said through the prophet: ‘I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.’” (Mt.13:34-35)
And what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world in this parable of the weeds among the wheat? More than the mercy and leniency God has for us all sinners is His great belief in each one of us! Yes, that is one of the many ironies of this life I have found recently— of how we human beings would not trust others even ourselves, our own abilities, our own giftedness! What a sad a situation when the truth is, god in all His might and powers believes in us so much that He put us here on earth!
This Sunday, Jesus Christ is telling us how much He believes in us so much that even if we do evils, He trusts lovingly that we would change our ways and be better persons.
This Sunday too, Jesus Christ is telling us who suffer so much from inconsiderate people who malign our names, saying and doing all the nasty things against us, that He still believes in us, that we would be patient and kind, and eventually with Him on our side that we would overcome all these trials and hardships in life.
We don’t have to use brute force and other means available to our powers because, aside from the so many pains we have to endure, there are still the many destructions happening that could still worsen if we “pull out the weeds” from the field.
Let us be consoled and be filled with hope with what Jesus said towards the end in explaining this parable: “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Mt.13:43)
Observe how people deep into evil and sin, even if they look good physically, their aura is so negative that you could feel something rotting inside them. Malcolm Gladwell called it “Blink” but a wife or a mother knows it very well as an intuition when just deep inside them they could rightly conclude by the appearance of their husband or kids that there’s some hanky panky or trouble brewing in them. Gut feelings often tell us deep inside us how some people repel rather than attract us.
Today, our parable of the weeds among the wheat tells us that profound truth of Jesus believing in us, dwelling in us. Let that light of Jesus in you shine through! Let us pray through the second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans: “Lord Jesus Christ, pour upon me your Holy Spirit as I search my heart to help me in my weaknesses especially when I become impatient with others, when I think of revenge when others hurt me, and when I refuse to love because of others shortcomings. May your Holy Spirit move me to always do the Father’s holy will. Amen.”
Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Parish of St. John the Baptist
Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan