Where Has the Enemy Not Sown Weeds?

Lenten Reflections 2016

Where has the enemy not sown weeds? What has he nor found wheat and not strew it with weeds? Has he sown only among lay people and not among the clergy or among bishops? Has he sown only among married men and not among the chaste professed? Has he sown only among married women, and not among nuns? Has he sown only in the homes of lay people, and not in congregations of monks? He has strewn seed everywhere, sowed everywhere—where has he left seed not mixed with weeds? But, thank God, the one who has deigned to separate cannot err: your charity is not hidden from him, because weeds are found in the loftiest, most exalted harvest, even in the professed life weeds are found, and you say, “even there wicked people are found, even in that congregation there are wicked people!” But the wicked will not reign forever with the good. Why are you surprised that you have found bad people in a holy place? Don’t you know that in paradise the first sin was disobedience, and did an angel fall because of it? Did it stain heaven? Adam fell, and did he stain paradise? One of the sons of Noah fell, and did he stain the home of the just one? Judas fell, and did he stain the choir of Apostles?

Sometimes by human judgment some are thought to be wheat when in fact they’re weeds, and some are thought weeds who in fact are wheat. And because these things are hidden, the Apostle says: “Do not judge before the time, until the Lord comes and casts light on things hidden in darkness, and he will reveal the thoughts of the heart, and then there will be praise for each one from God” (1 Cor 4:5). Human praise passes: sometimes a person praises a bad man and doesn’t know it; sometimes he accuses a holy man, and doesn’t know it. May God forgive those who do not know, and come to the aid of those who are toiling. (Ser 73A, 1.5,3)

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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