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Dear Friends,
More words from Pope Francis. These come from his reflection on the Gospel read at Mass on July 23rd. If you remember, it was the Gospel of the parable of the wheat and the weeds. He gave this reflection as part of the recitation of the Angelus, a Sunday tradition in Rome.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
“Today’s Gospel reading offers three parables through which Jesus speaks to the crowds about the Kingdom of God. I will focus on the first: that of the good wheat and the weeds, which illustrates the problem of evil in the world and highlights God’s patience (cf. Mt 13:24-30, 36-43). How much patience God has! Each one of us too can say this: ‘How much patience God has!’ The narrative takes place in a field with two antagonists. On one side is the master of the field, who represents God and who sows good seed; on the other is the enemy, who represents Satan and scatters weeds.

“As time passes, the weeds grow among the wheat, and the master and his servants express different opinions regarding this fact. The servants would like to intervene and uproot the weeds; but the master, who is concerned above all with saving the wheat, is against this, saying: ‘No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them’ (v. 29). With this image, Jesus tells us that in this world good and evil are so intertwined that it is impossible to separate them and eradicate all evil. God alone can do this, and he will do so at the Last Judgment. With its ambiguities and its composite character, the present situation is the field of freedom, the field of Christian freedom, in which the difficult exercise of discernment is made between good and evil.

“This field then, involves reconciling, with great trust in God and in his providence, two seemingly contradictory approaches: decision and patience. Decision is that of wanting to be good wheat – we all want this – with all our might, and thus keeping away from the evil one and his seduction. Patience means preferring a Church that acts as leaven in the dough, that is unafraid to sully her hands washing her children’s clothes, rather than a Church of “purists” who presume to judge ahead of time who will be in the Kingdom of God and who will not.

“Today the Lord, who is Wisdom incarnate, helps us to understand that good and evil cannot be identified with neatly defined areas of specific human groups: ‘These are the good, those are the bad.’ He tells us that the boundary line between good and evil passes through the heart of each person; it passes through the heart of each of us, that is: We are all sinners. I would like to ask you: ‘Whoever is not a all of us are. Jesus Christ, with his death on the Cross and his Resurrection, has freed us from the slavery of sin and given us the grace to journey in a new life; but along with Baptism he also gave us Confession, because we all need to be forgiven for our sins. Looking always and only at the evil that is outside of us means not wanting to recognize the sin that is also inside us.

“Jesus teaches us a different way of looking at the field of the world, of observing reality. We are called to learn God’s time – which is not our time – and also God’s ‘gaze’: thanks to the beneficial influence of uneasy anticipation, what were weeds or seemed to be weeds can become a good product. It is the reality of conversion. It is the prospect of hope!

“May the Virgin Mary help us to accept, in the reality that surrounds us, not only filth and evil, but also good and beauty; to unmask the work of Satan, but above all to trust in the action of God who fertilizes history.”
Pope Francis

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