Infinite Love and Unfathomable Hate

devil sewing tares

This week’s parable comes as a sequel to last week’s. Last week we focused on the sower of the seed in the farm field. [Spanish]

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.

skinscowboysSometimes 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.

the-fallWhy 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.

Lenten Purification and Enlightenment

$10000 QuestionAt some point in time, a momentous change in each of our lives occurred. We were baptized into Christ. Each of us; just about all of us; each individually–baptized into the life of the Savior. Every Christian can say: My future changed completely at that moment of baptism.

Changed how? I went from being a slave of mortality, facing inevitable oblivion, into being an adopted child of a loving and almighty Father, hopeful for goodness and eternal life. I went from the prospect of aimlessly wandering the earth to beginning the march to Mt. Zion. I became a member of a consecrated nation, a family. I became a captive redeemed, restored to the sublime birthright that was mine before the world began, when the good Lord above conceived of me in the infinite genius of His creative mind.

No event in our lives could ever rival the significance of our baptism. As Blessed Pope John Paul II answered the question: What was the greatest day of your life, Holy Father? When the Berlin Wall fell? When you were named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year? Chosen Pope? Ordained a priest? Born? No, he said. It all pales by comparison with the day I was baptized and made a child of God and a member of His Church.

Now, some people will live this Lent as the final stage of preparation for Holy Baptism. For these beloved brothers and sisters, the next forty days will be a period of purification and enlightenment. In fact, that is the official title of this stage of preparation for the sacraments: the Period of Purification and Enlightenment.

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You my Glance Seeks (Psalm 27)

A deep, terrifying darkness enveloped Abraham. (Genesis 15:12)

The Lord had called Abraham to come to the Promised Land. God instituted a covenant with Abraham. He made promises to Abraham. Then the Lord enveloped Abraham in a “deep, terrifying darkness.”

Many centuries later, the Lord Himself walked the earth. He took His closest Apostles up to the top of a towering mountain. He revealed His divinity to them. Then He enveloped them in a cloud that cast a shadow over them. Peter, James, and John became frightened.

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Homily Out-take

My homily this Sunday will be about hoping for heaven, no matter what.

The perfect counter-example is Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

I wish I could find a way to put Macbeth in my homily, but I have not the skill…

Macbeth kills Duncan and becomes king, as the witches predicted.

Nonetheless, Macbeth is overcome with fear that his friend Banquo’s heirs will be kings in the future.

Act III, Scene 1:


To be thus is nothing;
But to be safely thus…

Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown,
And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,
Thence to be wrench’d with an unlineal hand,
No son of mine succeeding. If ‘t be so,
For Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind;
For them the gracious Duncan have I murder’d;
Put rancours in the vessel of my peace
Only for them; and mine eternal jewel
Given to the common enemy of man,
To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings!

Macbeth concludes that he has vainly ‘put rancours in the vessel of my peace’ and given his ‘eternal jewel’ to the ‘common enemy of man.’

In other words: “Since I already sold my soul to the devil, I might as well kill Banquo, too.”

Giving up on heaven–what could be more horrible?

Humble Your Pride

Here is the first of four Lenten homilies on the seven deadly sins.

dore_abraham_isaac471x600God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, “Abraham!” “Ready!” he replied. Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.”

Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey, took with him his son Isaac, and two of his servants as well, and with the wood that he had cut for the holocaust, set out for the place of which God had told him.

On the third day Abraham got sight of the place from afar. Then he said to his servants: “Both of you stay here with the donkey, while the boy and I go on over yonder. We will worship and then come back to you.”

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