The defensive pathology of "it's just us" and the curative medicine of the Holy Gospel

Homiletics of the Fathers of The Island of Patmos


The pathology of "it's just us" has not appeared now in our day, because already Jesus, narrates the Gospel of Luke, he was forced to rebuke two apostles, James and John, that, as the group had not been welcomed by the Samaritans, they wanted to invoke fire and flames from heaven.










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The pathology of "it's just us" it has not appeared now in our days, because already Jesus, narrates the Gospel of Luke, he was forced to rebuke two apostles, James and John, that, as the group had not been welcomed by the Samaritans, they wanted to invoke fire and flames from heaven.

Vasco Rossi on the occasion of the presentation of the concert film All in one night, Live Kom 015′ in Milan, 14 March 2015. ANSA/DANIEL DAL ZENNARO

«It's just us» Vasco Rossi repeated in one of his old ones hit [cf.. WHO] where he listed situations in which those of his could relate fans who shared the ills of a generation of some time ago. Even in the Church, shaken by the vicissitudes of the modern world, a certain malaise has spread that we could define as "It's just us". It appears all those times that people or opinion groups express discontent and complaints, with the consequence of feeling as if attacked or besieged and therefore entrenched in a defensive position or in that of belonging only to elite capable of lasting and understanding what is convulsively happening.

The Pathology of "It's Only Us" it has not appeared now in our days, because already Jesus, narrates the Gospel of Luke, he was forced to rebuke two apostles, James and John, that, as the group had not been welcomed by the Samaritans, they wanted to invoke fire and flames from heaven[1].

To heal from this condition This Sunday's Gospel offers us a drug that from its name seems like a medicine: la macrothymia (forbearing), that is, patience. It is a term that is not actually present in the Gospel passage proclaimed today, but it expresses its meaning. We find it, instead, in the second letter of Peter where the apostle states:

«The Lord does not delay in fulfilling his promise, even if some talk about slowness. Instead he is patient - he is long-suffering makrothimei ― with you, because he doesn't want anyone to get lost, but that everyone has the opportunity to repent" [2PT 3, 9].

This is to indicate that already in the very first Christian generation there was the desire to force the times and to put oneself in the place of the One for whom «[…] a single day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a single day" [2PT 3, 8]. But here is the evangelical page of this sixteenth Sunday for a year (Mt 13, 24-43):

During that time, Jesus told the crowd another parable, saying: «The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. Ma, while everyone slept, his enemy came, he sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Then when the stem grew and bore fruit, the weeds also sprang up. Then the servants went to the master of the house and told him: "Man, you have not sown good seed in your field? Where does the weeds come from??”. And he answered them: “An enemy did this!”. And the servants said: “You want us to go pick it up?”. "Do Not, He answered, because when you, collecting the weeds, with it also uproot the wheat. Let them both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to burn; instead put the wheat in my barn"". He told them another parable, saying: «The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds but, once he grows up, it is larger than the other plants in the garden and becomes a tree, so much so that the birds of the sky come to make nests in its branches". He told them another parable: «The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and mixed in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened". All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables and did not speak to them except in parables, so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: «I will open my mouth with parables, I will proclaim things that have been hidden since the foundation of the world.". Then he dismissed the crowd and entered the house; his disciples approached him to tell him: «Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field». And he answered: «He who sows the good seed is the Son of man. The field is the world and the good seed are the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are the children of the Evil One and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world and the reapers are the angels. How then do we gather the weeds and burn them in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of man will send his angels, who will gather out of his kingdom all those who sin and all those who commit iniquity and will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father's kingdom. Who has ears, you listen!».

As I have already tried to explain [cf.. my previous homily]. Jesus loved speaking in parables, presenting immediately understandable realities taken from the peasant or household world as on this Sunday. Contextually, using metaphors, he staged paradoxical situations so that the same reality could be seen differently from how it is usually perceived. It is remodeled by Him not only for the purpose of presenting a new ethic, but above all to tell what the kingdom of God is, a reality that escapes any appropriation or cataloguing. It is the world of God that Jesus reveals and lives and which continually displaces.

The first parable of the good wheat and the weeds[2] it differs from that of the sower heard last Sunday because while there it was about sowing and receiving the land, here it is described together with sowing (v. 24), also the growth of the seed, its fruiting (v. 26) and the harvest (v. 30). However, unlike the master's servants, readers are immediately warned that someone, taking advantage of the darkness of the night, he sowed discord in the same field. The discovery of the weeds, operated by servants, leads the latter to express their amazement and bewilderment to the sower (v. 27). In their words one can perhaps also detect a hint of suspicion or doubt about sowing, and therefore on the master himself. But the sower's response shows that the presence of weeds among the wheat is not at all surprising, it shouldn't surprise or cause scandal. And so the reader's reaction is also oriented not so much towards questioning the origin of the discord, but on how to behave when noting their presence. The reader's confusion, like servants, it happens there. Do not uproot the weeds, which among other things is also similar to wheat, but let the two plants grow together: in fact, there would be a risk of tearing up even those made of wheat. The weeds will certainly be separated from the wheat, but in its own time. Not now. Now is the time for patience. Patience is strength towards oneself, it is the ability to refrain from intervening by dominating the instinct that would immediately lead to "cleaning up". But this is not God's action. God is patient and long-suffering.

How many times have men questioned themselves on the presence of evil in human history or in the individual life of each of us. Because if we sow goodness, sometimes evil is returned to us? Who is this night operator who, as a jealous enemy of the good fruits of life, causes many situations to arise in which we stumble as if over unwanted weeds??

Even in the Christian community this mix between good and bad can exist, between the just and the unjust as it was already in the small community of those who followed Jesus: someone betrayed him, another denied him and some fearful people ran away.

But the Son of Man, Jesus, He teaches his people to have patience behaving like sons of the Kingdom until the judgment comes that will liquefy every scandal and ugliness. The smoke of the adversary's works reduced to nothing has disappeared, finally only daylight will shine without sunset[3].

But until then we are in the time of the growth of the Kingdom of God which can encounter a thousand obstacles and difficulties. This is why it is important to learn the patience of God beautifully depicted in the book of Wisdom in the first reading of this Liturgy of the Word:

«[…] The fact that you are master of all, It makes you lenient with everyone. You show your strength when there is no belief in the fullness of your power, and reject the insolence of those who know it. Master of the Force, you judge with meekness and govern us with great indulgence, Why, Whenever you want, you wield power. With this way of acting you taught your people that the just must love men, and you have given your children good hope that, after the sins, you grant repentance" [Sap 12, 19-20].

The community of believers, the church, it is the place where one experiences this divine indulgence and it, around you, testifies it to the world. As is expressed in these beautiful words of the Council:

«The Church therefore, provided with the gifts of its founder and faithfully observing his precepts of charity, humility and self-sacrifice, receives the mission of announcing and establishing the kingdom of Christ and of God among all people, and of this kingdom it constitutes the germ and the beginning on earth. In the meantime, as it slowly grows, yearns for the perfect kingdom and with all his might hopes and longs to unite with his king in glory".[4]

In the words of the Council it is explicitly said that the Church is not the Kingdom of God, but it yearns for you as it walks through time. For it itself is made up of saints and sinners in need of divine patience and mercy. While a plant emerges to remain itself, either good wheat or weeds, people can change, come back, fall and even repent. A myriad of saints are there to bear witness to this and the apostle Paul himself recalls it several times in his letters. In the second reading of this Liturgy he goes so far as to state that not even "we know how to pray properly" if the Spirit of God did not intervene to intercede for the saints. This protects us from feeling like we have already arrived, but also better than others, the only pure and holy ones eager to eradicate from now on those who in our opinion are symbolically weeds.

In the other two parables that follow that of the wheat and the weeds Jesus speaks of the Kingdom as if it were a seed that from very small and humble origins unexpectedly becomes a tree capable of welcoming new life, symbolized by the nests that are built among its branches. An experience that the Church that harked back to the tradition of the Gospel of Matthew was already experiencing, because it is made up of people coming from both Judaism and paganism. Or he talks about it as the yeast that makes a large amount of flour grow. Three measures are forty kilograms! The Church rejoices in seeing this divine work and is amazed by it. In the same way as Sarah to whom Abraham asked to knead the same quantity of flour to welcome the Lord at the oak of Mamre[5]. For this reason the Church, like Abraham and Sarah in their time, is called to faith in the works of God. A little further on, indeed, in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus will say:

«If you have faith equal to a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain: “Move from here to there” and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you" [Mt 17, 20].

At this point we can understand that the Kingdom is Jesus he loved to express it in parables, it is a divine reality that always transcends us. A reserve of grace, to use the words of a more mature theology, who teaches us to have patience towards sinners, mercy and faith in God until the end of time when the eschatological judgment will take place.

The two collection prayers also go in this direction that can be used in this Liturgy. The oldest first reads:

«Be kind to us, your faithful, o Lord, and give us abundantly the treasures of your grace".

The second newest one makes us pray like this:

«They always support us, or Father, the strength and patience of your love, because your word, seed and leaven of the kingdom, bear fruit in us and revive the hope of seeing the new humanity grow".

Happy Sunday everyone.

from the Hermitage, 23 July 2023



[1] «…They entered a village of Samaritans to prepare their entrance. But they did not want to receive it, because he was clearly on his way to Jerusalem. When they saw this, the disciples James and John said: “man, you want us to say that fire will come down from heaven and consume them?”. He turned around and scolded them". (LC 9, 51-55)

[2] Gramineaeous plant (A drunken lollipop), that infests the cereal fields.

[3] «There will be no more night, and they will no longer need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will enlighten them. And they will reign forever and ever.". (AP 22, 5)

[4] The light, 5.

[5] «Then Abraham hurriedly went into the tent, from Sarah, and said: “Presto, three seas of fine flour, knead it and make focaccia" (Gen 18,6).



San Giovanni all'Orfento. Abruzzo, Mount Maiella, it was a hermitage inhabited by Pietro da Morrone, called in 1294 to the Chair of Peter on which he ascended with the name of Celestine V (29 August – 13 December 1294).


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