Tuesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Jeremiah 14:17-22; Matthew 13:36-43)
Today’s explanation of the parable of the wheat and the weeds can be read as a commentary on Jesus’ command, “’Do not resist evil.’” At least as much as evil does not cause harm to the innocent, Jesus wants his followers to tolerate it. He indicates in the parable that the reason for non-resistance is that the innocent will suffer when evil is resisted. The parable also makes clear that God, at the end of time, will sort the good from the bad. He will reward the former for their virtue and punish the latter for their vice.
Examples are not hard to find. The Church now teaches that the death penalty is no longer helpful. It was tolerated for ages as the state acted in the place of God to protect its people. But that substitution has always been open to abuse. Now the Church recognizes the possibility of successfully incarcerating criminals to protect the public. Another example of an evil that is tolerated for a time is the restrictions imposed in face of the novel corona virus. Some resent having to stay at home and wearing facemasks in public. The state imposes this kind of evil to fulfill its responsibility of keeping people safe. Regarding pandemic restrictions, the imposition, gratefully, should not last very long.
It is possible that not resisting evil makes us both stronger and more sensitive people. We learn humility when we submit voluntarily to others’ will. We also better understand the much greater deprivations people like refugees must endure. The key to reaping such benefit is closeness to Jesus. We join in his suffering for the good of all. We also find strength from the bread he gives us to bear our cross.