Sunflowers and Swords
Sunflowers are dazzling displays when they bloom in country fields against a blue sky. Sunday's paper had two pictures of blooming sunflowers. One picture was in the Ukraine, the other near the Gaza strip. However the beautiful, blooming sunflowers were nestled in fields along with the swords of violence.
The Ukraine field was next to a row of bodies from an airliner of innocents downed by a missile, a deadly sword of violence. The Gaza field was inhabited with soldiers, bullets and rocks flying through the air; violence amid the beauty of the sunflowers. The words of today's reading from Jeremiah seem to apply amidst these signs of our times.
"Let my eyes stream with tears day and night, without rest. Over the great destruction which overwhelms the virgin daughter of my people. If I walk out into the field, look, those slain by the sword."
Good Seeds and Bad Seeds
In Matthew's gospel, Jesus explains the parable of the weeds in the field. The good seeds and the bad seeds germinate and grow next to each other, just as the sunflowers and violence bloom together in the fields of Gaza and the Ukraine. At the "end of the age" the products of the good and bad seeds are separated into piles; one for burning and one for the Kingdom of God. Small seeds grow together into beautiful plants or into unspeakable evil.
The Kingdom of God and Me
I don't control the world. If I did, I would choose to eliminate the swords of violence in favor of the beautiful sunflowers. However I do control my choices everyday in building the Kingdom of God. Every act of compassion nurtures a growing sunflower in the Kingdom. Every moment of forgiveness supplies light to the world. Every move toward unity and away from divisiveness promotes a good harvest in the Kingdom. Today I humbly pray for the strength to sew good seeds.
Terry McDevitt, Ph.D. is a member of our Passionist Family who volunteers at the Passionist Assisted Living Community in Louisville, Kentucky.