When I was a kid, my mum would take me to Novena, charismatic sessions and neighbourhood Rosary sessions.
That’s why I always had this holier-than-thou impression of Catholics. Oh man, they are just a bunch of retired uncles and aunties who don’t have anything better to do, and that’s why they’re so holy!
As a young, ambitious, 22-year old, I couldn’t relate. I was ready to take on the world, make lots of money, travel and party like a rock star. Besides, I was sinful with all the usual trappings of a young man: Lust, selfishness, and greed characterised my actions.
When a Christian dance group on my university campus approached me to join them, I reluctantly agreed because I didn’t have anything better to do. I rolled my eyes whenever they said prayers before practice. I made fun of them because they said “Oh my GOSH”. I thought it was ridiculous that they chose to live in the same dorm instead of mixing around with other people on campus.
Again, I couldn’t relate. Too holy for me.
It would be another 8 years before a personal crisis would lead me to the Seven Graces community.
Before I joined, I was really worried. Would these guys be another version of my holier-than-thou campus Christian group? Were we going to spend every Saturday afternoon saying the rosary and speaking in tongues?
While I was now open to the idea of God playing a role in my life, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to become that person – especially since I was still clinging to my old lifestyle and disposition. I was still selfish, still ambitious, and I sure wasn’t going to quit my job to volunteer at a church or something.
Would I be able to relate?
As the weeks passed, I slowly got to know the people in community better. And surprise, surprise, I found out that these weren’t overly pious, holier-than-thou folks. These were NORMAL PEOPLE with normal struggles I could identify with!
- The professionals who gossiped about difficult bosses
- The guys who struggled with lust
- The families who got into bitter arguments with their parents over their kids
I realised that we don’t have to be ashamed of our humanity, our weaknesses and our sin. That despite all the shortcomings in our lives, we STILL come back to God because we know that we need Him.
NOW I could relate.
Wheat And Weed
So that’s why today’s Gospel reading about the wheat and weed (say that five times fast!) really stuck with me:
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also.
And the servantsj of the householder came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’
But he said, ‘No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ ”
Maybe God doesn’t want us to be perfect now.
Like weeds, our imperfections and sinfulness eat up our resources and choke our growth. But the Lord still allows them to do so anyway.
He recognises that we NEED our imperfections and struggles. We NEED the worldliness and the pains and everything that makes us human. That doesn’t mean that we passively accept them, but maybe God wants us to struggle through and overcome them – always reaching out for His great love.
Why? Because there are SO MANY OTHERS out there who’re experiencing the same pains and struggles and sinfulness as us. We’re not going to reach them by acting all pious and holy and saying twenty rosaries a day.
We can only bring others to Christ when we enter into their experiences and suffering. And then show them that all of us – from the holy aunties to the frustrated parents to the ambitious professionals – need Jesus to save us.
Image credit: sleepyclaus