Oh, if only life was this easy to understand and correct. How many of us have worked in that heavenly garden of a place? You are blessed beyond measure, you receive so many gifts of the Spirit, and you are hoping and praying that what God wants you to share with others is what you are contributing. You understand the sacrifice of what you do – time away from your family, hours that you dedicate to service that usually pile up all too quickly. You look forward to going to work every day, and you can’t believe the day’s hours have passed because you have found so much joy in your daily efforts.
But, then there are the weeds. Those folks who see nothing wrong with taking advantage of the system, taking a few free hours here, a few free trinkets there. And we are not usually given the opportunity of seeing those wrongdoers removed from the garden. Not always are our warnings heeded of what we know or see, and so the joy of the garden is snuffed out, slowly giving way to the evil that begins to linger in it.
It is so incredibly easy to become downhearted, depressed, or sad when you have lived through an experience like this. You believe that you are doing things the right way, going through the proper channels, but there will always be the weeds of the garden that want to snuff you out. But we have to stand firm in our belief in a loving and merciful God. The parable in today’s gospel is the reality of good and bad. I have been guilty of allowing others to “steal my joy” in their badness, and it has thrown me into the throngs of depression and sadness rather than the goodness I should be searching and working toward. It has affected my ministry in the past and numbed me to my faith.
Our own hearts must be open to God’s protection for us from evil. He loves us so very much, and we know that there will always be someone who wants to control what others can contribute or experience in ministry. Open your hearts to the Gospel and be the flower – don’t be the weed!
Patty Masson supports the Passionists from Spring, Texas.