Reflection for 16th Sunday of Year

My dear Friends

Do you ever look at your lawn and notice there are more weeds than grass? If we were to dig out the weeds, there would be very little grass left. I have often wondered why weeds flourish, and flowers wilt! Do roses have thorns, or thorns have roses?! This Sunday’s readings address our life’s journey towards wholeness and holiness. Sometimes, however, we simultaneously scatter seeds/weeds/darnal of self-doubt, pain and division into the lives of others. Tragically, we do not realise that when we do this, we plant the same seeds of self-doubt, pain and division in our own hearts and lives.

How do we address the human pain, weaknesses, brokenness and woundedness smouldering within us which often compel us to wound or demean others? When we feel threatened or insecure, jealous or envious, we often set out, like saboteurs, to ‘bring down’ the other person flat on his/her face. And it is so easily done! A knowing smile with a raised eyebrow…the uncertainty about a person’s expertise, capabilities, qualities or honesty, ‘planted’ among colleagues over a cup of coffee. How many times have we heard, ‘yes, she/he IS such a nice person…and the eyes are raised towards the heaven…followed by a polite laugh! The challenge here is to ask ourselves, what is this compelling drive which makes us want to scatter these kinds of seeds? What are the sometimes raging emotions within us which can make us spiritually blind, emotionally deaf and heart-hardened to those around us?

I remember a gardener once telling me that the bulb of the amaryllis plant is very ugly. However, to throw away the bulb, means to throw away the plant. I think it is the same with the human weaknesses and frailties within us. Just like the darnal in today’s readings, it is not just a question of ripping out the perceived ugliness of weaknesses, and, in the process, ripping out the beauty of our strengths.

Perhaps, it is in recognising these weaknesses and strengths as parts of our human condition that we can feel with a new, heart-filled compassion; we can hear the voice of a loving God guiding us into a more life-giving response to our fears and challenges; and the scales are lifted from our eyes, so that we can see God in the people with whom we interact each day.

The first reading today mirrors the transformative impact of God’s love!  It is an awe-filled love which can transform us, love us into the creations we are meant to be! It is a love which radiates a gentle, yet titanium, strength; pulsates with a boundless, forgiving compassion; breaths healing into every fibre of our being; and, restores us to be the bearers of God’s love and healing to his world.

So, my dear friends, next time you are in the garden…have a look at the lawn…ah…the grass and the weeds! How do they compare to the topography of my soul and heart?

Remember me as loving you,

Fr. Antony

The parish is part of the Diocese of Portsmouth. Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust registered charity 246871.

© 2019• Immaculate Conception Church, Portswood, Southampton

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