In this week’s parable of the weeds among the wheat, they came to the sower and asked him:
Sir, didn’t you sow good seed? Where have all the weeds come from? We know you scattered some seed among thorns and thistles, hoping for the best. But now we see weeds growing even in the good soil, interspersed with the wheat plants. Who put those bad seeds in with the good?
An enemy has done this.
God made us to grow in healthy fruitfulness, to flower, to reach the fullness of divine love. Out of what did He make us? The clay of the earth, yes. But not only that. With His limitless genius, He formed us in His divine image and likeness. He breathed into us the breath of spiritual life.
He made us for peace, for fair dealings with each other, for friendship. He gave us the talents we need to build cities and communities worthy of children of God.
But we know the field has aggressive, harmful weeds. We know that alongside our talents to build something good together, by God’s Providence, we also have perverse capacities. The capacity to abuse everything good, and to despise God’s Providence.
Sometimes it seems that things have gotten so complicated and messed-up in human society that we can hardly hope for the good things God made us for. An enemy has done this. The devil exists. If we didn’t think so before, certainly the year AD 2020 has taught us that the devil prowls about the world, seeking the ruin of souls.
Health-care workers taxed beyond the limits of human endurance. The whole country confused about what will happen next. Will my job be there much longer? Plus, months of summer with no baseball. And the end of the Washington Redskins. It’s like the Cowboys have won. Forever. Satan has triumphed.
Seriously, though. The Evil One has his minions, the legion of fallen angels. They exist. They tempt every human being to sin.
God made us to do good. But our First Parents succumbed, when Satan tempted them to disobedient pride. So we get born in weakness and interior disorder. Doing good comes hard, requires us to organize and discipline ourselves. Doing evil comes easy.
The demons despise us. We have to remember: It is impossible for us mortals to imagine just how much the demons hate everything that is beautiful about human beings. Let me repeat that, because it is crucially important: Our minds do not have the depth necessary to comprehend fully how much the demons hate us.
This explains why the Master told them to wait, rather than try to pull up the weeds. We cannot competently judge the situation fully. It’s not that we might fall into cynicism in our judgments about good and evil. That’s not really the danger. Rather, we will fall into naivete. We will always, always under-estimate the real evil-ness of demonic evil.
Why do I say that? We human beings simply cannot help but try to see meaning in things. Because the meaning is actually there. God has a reason for all His works, and His reason is infinite love. Therefore, everything that happens has a kind of infinite meaning. We naturally seek to understand that meaning. We string events together in our minds; we conceive of them as part of a drama, tending toward a meaningful outcome. We believe that strife bears fruit. Because it does.
Satan wills to attack us at that deep, deep level of how we understand life. He wills to render life meaningless. A waste. Fruitless, pointless slavery.
So my point is this: We have to remember that, fundamentally, we are all in this battle to find the meaning of life, together. The Master says, Wait, don’t try to separate wheat from weeds yourselves. Leave that to the experts. Leave that to the holy angels.
The holy angels understand the full depth of demonic evil. They never fall into our human naivete about it. The holy angels will not misidentify human foibles as demonically evil. They will not throw well-meaning, but misguided, human zeal into the furnace; rather, they will purify it. They will not crush human weakness; rather, they will try to heal it. They will not despise delusional idealism; rather, they will try to save the good while purging out the bad.
The holy angels see us for what we are; they see our weaknesses for what they are. They know that fully demonic evil operates much more subtly, much more deeply, and much more destructively. The demons attack the beauty of mankind at its roots.
What’s one thing that the holy gospels certainly teach us? That the Lord Jesus hated pharisaism more than any other sin. He hated people thinking to themselves: We’re on the good team, unlike the dirty people on the bad team.
No. We are in the battle against Satan’s hatred together. The angels will separate the teams when Judgment Day comes. In the meantime, in the struggle to find the meaning of life, and hold onto it—we’re all in it, together.