Friday, July 18, 2014

Let Them Grow Together

Our Holy Father Francis surprises us often in the people that he includes in the Church.  We have been used to Church leaders excluding many people for many different reasons.  Some Catholic lay people are also eager to exclude others.  A woman at daily Mass told a Greek Orthodox woman that she could not take communion.
The parable that Jesus preaches in Matthew 13:24-30 warns us not to be so quick to exclude people from the reign of God.  The farm workers want to pull up the weeds as soon as they notice them in the wheat, but the farmer warns them that they might tear up the wheat along with them.  "Let them grow together until harvest," he says.
Tolerance doesn't come easy to many of us.  It's also tricky.  When we criticize a certain group of being intolerant, are we being intolerant of them?  Jesus eats with tax collectors and prostitutes, shames those so eager to stone the woman caught in adultery.  His example encourages us to make everyone welcome in our church.  He doesn't pretend that weeds are not weeds or that prostitutes are not prostitutes.
Isn't it also possible that welcoming all kinds of people among us might help them to grow in their relationship with God?  If our faith burns hot, it will set fire to everything it touches.

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