Genesis 28:10-19a/ Romans 8:12-25/ Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Good Seeds Living by the Spirit
Problems With Christmas Carols
Do you like Christmas carols? I only like the traditional ones. I don’t like the songs that today’s pop starts record. But some old songs feel uncomfortable to our contemporary sensibilities. For example, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” might make us feel uncomfortable due to the “Me Too” movement and date rapes. Today, we say to our children, “No means no,” to teach them the importance of consent in the dating context. It was written by a married couple, and although it might have been conceived as whimsical at the time, it doesn’t feel the same way today because we believe in the importance of consent in a relationship and the empowerment of our daughters. Things that the male character says to the female character in that song is coercion. He needs to learn that no means no.
There is another one that makes me laugh; “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Blackmailing your children with Santa’s “naughty or nice” list is one thing, but the idea of Santa watching them while they are sleeping and awake is just creepy. The thought of Santa watching us while we are sleeping is creepy, but how does the idea that God watches us all the time makes you feel?
Hopefully, this idea would make us feel like how Jacob felt at the realization that God was there for him. Jacob was Abraham’s grandson. Abraham’s son and heir Isaac had two twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Jacob was a younger twin brother who lost out on being his father’s heir. He felt it wasn’t fair, so he cheated his brother twice; first by taking advantage of his brother’s hunger by making him give away his birthright, and second by fooling his almost-blind father into blessing him instead of the first-born son for which the blessing was intended.
In today’s story, he is on the run after stealing his brother’s blessing because Esau wanted to harm him. On the run, he has a dream of angels on a ladder and God promising him blessing and protection. After waking up, he thought to himself, “Surely, the Lord is in this place-and I did not know it. How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” Then, he took a stone, poured oil on it, and called that place Bethel, which means “house of God.” He might have thought of his dishonest acts against his brother and his father.
It’s like when we do something that is not good, we might forget that God is everywhere, watching us and watching over us. Would we do something bad if we were always conscious of God’s presence and gaze? Would children do bad things if they were always conscious that Santa is watching them?
Living By the Spirit
Apostle Paul said we should live by the Spirit and not according to the flesh. We should live by the Spirit because we are God’s children. Living by the Spirit is the proof that we belong to God. When we are God’s children and live by the Spirit, we become one with the Spirit, who even knows what we need and even prays for us when we don’t know what to pray for. When we live by the Spirit, we can recognize the good, the bad, and the ugly in our world. We can see God’s creation suffering; humans, animals, and nature alike. If we live by the Spirit, we will not want to ignore the suffering of our world. If we are called to live by the Spirit, we are called to be healers of the world. The Spirit gives us the compassion of Jesus and the desire to act.
Let Us Be Good Seeds
We are, or should be, the good seeds that Jesus mentions in today’s parable. We won’t know if we are good seeds or weeds until the harvest time. How do we know if we are good seeds or weeds? By the fruit we bear. Guided by the Spirit, we should be good and positive influences in the world and bring goodness to the world. Are there fewer hungry people in the world thanks to us? Or fewer sad people, bitter people, hopeless people, or less damage to our Mother Earth? We can know if we are good seeds or weeds by asking ourselves this kind of questions.
We learned from today’s scripture readings that we are God’s children, God is present in our lives all the time, and that we are called to be good seeds that heal the world groaning of pain. Therefore, let us look around and be attentive to the world around us. Let us pray for others, especially those who suffer. Let us speak against injustice. Let us help those in need in tangible ways. Let us change our sinful ways that have been damaging our Mother Earth. The climate change is already affecting us and will only get worse if we don’t do something. Let us learn more on how we can undo at least some of the environmental damage. And while we are doing all these, let us never forget that we are God’s beloved children. Let us try our best to live a life worthy of God’s reign.