Father Michael Barrow

From the parish of St Francis of Assisi

Living With Hypocrisy: A Reflection On The Sunday Gospel (Matthew 13. 24-43) By Fr. Michael Barrow, S.J.

Living With Hypocrisy: A Reflection On The Sunday Gospel (Matthew 13. 24-43) By Fr. Michael Barrow, S.J.

LIVING WITH HYPOCRISY

PEOPLE WHO GO TO CHURCH ARE NEARLY ALL HYPOCRITES.That's why we go to church, to ask forgiveness and healing not only from our hypocrisy but also for loads of other things which are wrong in our lives and need healing. And the wonderful thing is that the Lord does not turn us away.If the Church lives up to what Christ intended, then it welcomes people who are really quite hopeless.As Pope Francis said, receiving Holy Communion is not a prize for being good but a healing remedy precisely for people who are not good and need healing. As Jesus said, "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Jesus has a beautiful parable to illustrate this in today's gospel. A farmer took the trouble to sow really good wheat in his field, but when it sprouted it was full of weeds. The obvious thing would be to start weeding it out straight away, but the farmer said "No, because when you might pull up the wheat with the weeds. Let them both grow till the harvest."

If that is applied to people in the Church then it means the Church must have good and bad people together and not weed them out.Of course one big difficulty in trying to separate them anyway would be to know who are the wheat and who are the weeds. We all need healing in the Church. A church that does not welcome hopeless cases is not worthy of the name. I should not be disappointed if the wheat in my life is not without weeds.As St Paul observed, "I find that, as a rule, when I want to do what is good, evil is right there with me." [Romans 7.21]By God's help the wheat will grow stronger even if I can't get rid of the weeds.

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