Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Transforming Yeast

One thing we notice is that Good and evil grow side by side in this present world. One question is: why does God not just exterminate all the evil people around in order to purity the world?

The Gospel of today seeks to offer great answers through three parables: the Weeds or Tares, the Mustard Seed and the Yeast.

With these parables, Jesus gives answers to those who are scandalized at seeing evil everywhere. He insists on the fact that the Kingdom of God begins so small like the insignificant Mustard. At the beginning, it may not be noticeable, but Christians through their virtues act as the transforming yeast the boost the growth and visibility of the kingdom. At the end, there is clear distinction between the Good (Wheat) and the Evil (Weed/Tares). The final stage will come only at the end of a process. The Lord will not suppress the weeds immediately. His call to conversion is ongoing. We are constantly called to be the wheat giving life.

One thing with our world is that there are two forces: the power that seeks to do things well and the power that tries to spoil what is good. Evil has a very deceptive nature. A Christian must follow the power that does things well and not be influenced by the evil. One thing is certain our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12). Sooner or later evil will become evident. In effect, though we live in an age in which evil and good exist together, it is clear however that good and evil remain distinct, and the evil can be recognised as evil, and the good as good. In this light Saint Peter’s letter becomes so pertinent; He advises us in this term: Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

There are two very important lessons one can draw from the Parable of the weeds: God respects people. He knows that temptation is often stronger than their good intentions and they need time to find and to choose steadily what is good. The second is that God is Patient. The reconciliation of so many contradictory groups, forces and cultural currents active in the world will be attained only at the end of time. In the meantime, we are not to label any of them as “the” good ones and “the” bad ones.
In effect, Good and bad will be mixed till the end of the world. Good and evil will always be found together in persons and in institutions. Time will obviously bring maturity. Yes, the Kingdom of God begins like a mustard seed. It is so tiny that we may not be attentive to what its smallness contains and we run the risk of not appreciating it. We have to make sure that we are the good soil that welcomes this see, that nourishes it and it will obviously grow and become the big tree that will give life to the birds who will make their nest there.

As believers therefore, we are the yeast of the world. The yeast transforms human history by infusing into human activity the spirit that gives life to humankind. That transformation takes place gradually at a rhythm which we have to respect. The life which the yeast brings forth is always present, ready to change things from their roots, to transform what seems like insignificant dust into bread that is nourishing. Welcoming the yeast of the Lords grace in our lives means accepting a transformation which makes service to our neighbour.

Fr. Jude Thaddeus Langeh Basebang, cmf
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