A Weed or a Flower
When Jesus visited Jerusalem as a twelve year-old he had a long discussion with the leading Jewish teachers. He was far from impressed and told Mary and Joseph that one day he would devote himself to addressing the problem. Some of the great prophets claimed that the covenant between God and the people had broken down because of their sins against the commandments. But God would offer a new covenant not written on stone or paper but embedded in the heart. Today we hear Jesus say: “You have heard it said of old … but I say to you”.
He recalls the commandments forbidding killing, adultery and false witness.
There are two ways of looking at a commandment. Since it comes in human words, analyse it, how can we get around it, find exceptions to the rule. Is there a just war? Can a referendum justify killing a child in the womb?
The second way to look at a commandment is to ask what is the ideal or the virtue that this commandment is seeking to achieve. Jesus wants us to concentrate on the virtue rather than the vice. “If your virtue goes no deeper than that of the Scribes or Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.”
Killing, adultery and other destructive energies are embedded in the heart. The new covenant ratified at the Last Supper would mean an honest heart-to-heart relationship with God.
Two inner energies which cause a lot of trouble are anger and lust. A three-step plan can help us to reclaim their potential for goodness. Name – Claim – Tame .
Naming means admitting I have a problem here. It is dangerous to live in denial.
Claiming means trying to see the positive potential here since it is part of God’s creation. Anger can become a powerful source of energy to correct something that is wrong. Lust indicates a desire for relationships. If you are incapable of lust you are incapable of loving.
It’s like the weeds in the garden. See them in the forest and you call them wild flowers and admire them. There are no such things as weeds: only flowers in the wrong place. All our energies are basically good but they sometimes get into the wrong place.
Taming means working humbly with God’s grace to use this troublesome energy towards a good purpose. God is the source of all our energy so it must be good. Thank God for this energy, even if it is presently causing trouble. We must learn to praise God even in the storm.
Br Silvester O’Flynn OFM Cap.