Showing posts from July, 2020

Weeds among the wheat

In one of my first posts on this blog, I wrote about over-aggressive weeding. I confessed to a tendency to hyper-focus on trying to pull out every single weed, even when they get so entwined with the garden plants that I do more damage than good.  That happens to be the theme of the parable in today's gospel reading (Matthew 13:24-30). Jesus cautions his followers not to be too zealous in weeding. He says, "if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest."  Now, at the first level (OK, the 2nd level -- the first is my poor garden), I think of this as meaning that we should not rush to judgment of people, not label people as "good" or "bad," "wheat" or "weeds." Not try to exclude the people we consider "bad" from, let's say, our church. I think that's a pretty standard interpretation, actually. But as I've gotten older, and especially as I've been gr


Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything That's how the light gets in (Leonard Cohen, "Anthem") This has been a tough week. It started on Monday with the feast of Saint Maria Goretti -- a little Italian girl, not quite 12 years old, who was knifed to death in 1902 while resisting rape. Worse even than that appalling event, somehow, is the text that the Church in her wisdom (yes, that's sarcasm) assigns to the Office of Readings for that day: it's an excerpt from Pope Pius XII's speech at her canonization, in 1958. "From Maria's story carefree children and young people with their zest for life can learn not to be led astray by attractive pleasures which are not only ephemeral and empty but also sinful. Instead they can fix their sights on achieving Christian moral perfection, however difficult and hazardous that course may prove."   Worse, because that almost unbelievable sermon was inflicted n

Twin Thomas

Today is the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle. The gospel reading at Mass today (John 20:24-29) is the origin of the phrase "doubting Thomas." That's not the attribute I'm here to pick on today, however. The reading starts with the words "Thomas, called Didymus." Didymus is the Greek for "twin," and Thomas seems to be the Aramaic for "twin." But it takes two to twin, doesn't it? And the Bible never gives any hint of Thomas actually being  a twin, or having a twin. Is it just like nicknaming someone named John "Loo", or someone named Kelly "Green", or someone named Joe "Java"? Yeah, maybe. Or maybe he looked enough like the Teacher, Jesus, to be His twin? Or maybe he and his identical twin brother were oldest sons, and no one was ever sure which one was the firstborn and heir?  This mysterious missing other twin made me think about duplicity, not in the sense of deceitfulness, but in the sense of being two

Ask, and you will receive

Today at Mass we heard Matthew 8:25-34. I just love this gospel passage! Jesus comes to the region of the Gadarenes, where he encounters a couple of violent demoniacs, wandering around among the tombs and terrorizing the population, so that the people are forced to avoid that road altogether. But the demons who possess the two men recognize Jesus as the Son of God, and they know He is going to drive them out of the men. So they make a request: "if you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs." And He does that, and the demon-possessed pigs immediately rush off and drown themselves.  Now, I'm a little thin on demonology, and I can't think why the demons asked for what they did, or why they immediately drove their new hosts to their deaths, or whether they themselves were destroyed in that death, or if not, what? I suppose, demons must work on our intelligence, and although folks say that pigs are very intelligent animals, it's still not like human intelligence.