To Root Up – Fr. Tom Tank

Fr. Tom Tank’s Homily July 18, 2020

“That parable of the wheat and the weeds is certainly a powerful one that has many different dimensions to it. It reminds me of a high school teacher one time, religion class, and he read the passage about that ‘You are the light of the world and you are the salt of the earth.’ and he went on to make the comment. He said, ‘Wouldn’t it be better for us if we just had whole-hearted Christians rather than so many half-hearted one? Wouldn’t we be a better church if we just were the fully committed rather than the half-hearted?’ And the students kinda looked at him for awhile and he began to say, ‘Wouldn’t it be better to have 1 million really devoted Christians rather than 25 million who are lackadaisical?’ And they began to agree with him and they said, ‘Yeah maybe that would be a lot better.’ And then one little girl in the back of the room said, ‘But who would decide who is half-hearted and who is fully committed?’ And one little boy upt up his hand and he said, ‘I’ve got a whole list of them right here.’

We can all draw up the list of the ones that we think are half-hearted, who are not fully committed, but Jesus says, ‘Let the weeds grow among the wheat. Do not try to pull the weeds out or you’ll destroy the wheat as well.’ And maybe one step further, maybe the weeds can become wheat. The weeds that are referred to here grew up in the fields at that time and it was called fools wheat because in the early stages the weed looks very much like the wheat and if you go in and start pulling it out you’re gonna pull out the good as well as the bad and Jesus always says that we are not to judge that we are not to condemn and that rather than judging people in the middle of their life it is up to God to judge them at the end of life and that that is truly God’s prerogative and not ours. And so he says, ‘Yes there will be weeds.’ and we know there’s a lot of weeds in our world today. There’s a lot of negativity there’s a lot of sin there’s a lot of rejection of God, but Jesus said there will come the moment of accountability for each one for his or her life, but in the meantime know that yes there are weeds and wheat and we are called to recognize though that there can be weeds and wheat within our own life as well and that we should attend to. We need to be tuned in to the weeds that are within our own heart, the negativity, the sinfulness, the weakness, the lackadaisicalness, that that’s the challenge for us in this. It’s not to judge others. God will judge them in his own good time. It is rather for us to look at ourselves. What do I need to change? What do I need to root up from my life that I may be prepared for that judgement of the Lord and one of the things that is a great consolation is that first reading today. I encourage you to go back over that reading today because it’s really about the compassion and mercy, the leniency of God, how God has that great tender love for us. He is a God of justice, yes. He is a God of judgement, yes, but he’s a God of compassion, a God who knows the depths of the heart and not just what is on the surface, the outside. We are lucky that we have such a lenient judge such a compassionate judge, one who judges with tender love, but we are challenged nevertheless to prepare for that day of judgement to root out the weeds within our own life, to embrace and to allow a great harvest of wheat of acts of love to be a reality within our life.”