When besieged by challenges, trials and difficulties, we often ask the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
In today’s Gospel (Mt. 13: 24-43 or 13: 24-30), Jesus said to the crowds:
“The Kingdom of Heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.”
It’s not only frustrating but also a scary proposition when doing something like sowing good seeds, then while everyone was asleep, the enemy comes along and sowed weeds. What would one feel when all your efforts and hard work at preparing the field and planting the good seeds, somebody else sows weeds? Imagine doing good works for your Church Ministry and somebody else is working at destroying what you have built?
The Gospel is certainly talking about Jesus Christ with His preaching and calling for repentance and conversion. He sowed the good seeds “with His Word and watered the soil with His Most Precious Blood”. But the parable didn’t mention about the man fighting the enemy right there and then seeking revenge. Instead he allowed the action of the evil one to remain for now. He didn’t uproot the weeds that grow with the good ones, as doing this may affect the yield of the good plants negatively:
His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest;then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;but gather the wheatinto my barn.”
“Vengeance and revenge lead nowhere. They make things worse”, says Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB in his homily today. Revenge can bring hurt and more hurt in the process.
What the Lord is saying is that all the evil around us cannot and should not affect our growth in doing good and virtuous deeds. We have to endure suffering and trials in this world on a daily basis while seeking the Kingdom of Heaven. God knows that evil cannot affect us for as long as we don’t allow it. Anyway, we know that in the end, the Lord of the Harvest will burn these evildoers in the eternal fire. Makes sense, right?
Ultimately, the added question to be asked as to why do bad things happen to good people may be, “Why not?” If undergoing through these will make us more faithful, hopeful and tougher for the love of God, certainly these are worth the effort to resist in taking revenge.
Today, let us reflect on the reality of evil around us. Let us reflect on the idea that this is part of our growth in developing hope and trust that all evil will end someday. At the end of time, Jesus Christ will bring all works of evil to be destroyed in the eternal fire for which evil is destined to be.
Let us pray that the Lord continue to give us the strength and courage to grow alongside evil and resist seeking revenge against evildoers. Let us pray that we remain hopeful and trusting in the power of God in our life.
“Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom.” (Mt. 11: 25)