The Defeat of Evil

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Readings for Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A

23 July: Saint Bridget of Sweden, Religious – Optional Memorial

Marten van Valckenborch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.  When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.”  Matthew 13:24-26

The introduction to this parable should wake us up to the reality of the evil one in our midst.  The specific action of the “enemy” in this parable is disturbing.  Imagine if this story were true and you were the farmer who worked very hard at sowing the seed throughout your field.  Then, if you awoke to hear the news that weeds had been sown also, you would be quite saddened, angered and disappointed.

But this parable is especially about the Son of God.  Jesus is the one who has sown the good seed of His Word and watered that seed with His Precious Blood.  But the evil one, the devil, has also been at work trying to undermine the work of our Lord.

Again, if this were a true story about you as a farmer, it would be hard to refrain from much anger and a desire for revenge.  But the truth is that Jesus, as the Divine Sower, does not allow the evil one to steal His peace.  Instead, He has allowed this action of the evil one to remain for now. But in the end, the works of evil will be destroyed and burned in the unquenchable fire.

What’s also interesting to note is that Jesus does not root out all evil in our world here and now.  According to the parable, He refrains so that the good fruit of the Kingdom will not be negatively affected.  In other words, this parable reveals to us the interesting truth that the “weeds” all around us, that is, the evil alive within our world, cannot affect our growth in virtue and entrance into the Kingdom of God.  We may have to endure evil on a daily basis and find ourselves surrounded by it at times, but our Lord’s willingness to allow evil for now is a clear sign that He knows it cannot affect our growth in virtue if we do not let it.

Reflect, today, upon the reality of evil in your world.  It’s essential that you name evil activity for what it is.  But evil cannot ultimately affect you.  And the evil one, despite his malicious attacks, will ultimately be defeated.  Reflect upon the hope that this truth brings and renew your trust in the power of God this day.

Lord, I pray that You do deliver us all from the evil one.  May we be freed from his lies and snares and always keep our eyes upon You, our Divine Shepherd.  I turn to You in all things, dear Lord.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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