A God Of Patience And Tolerance

There has been a big question on why evil exists in a good world created by a good and sovereign God? Why is life on earth is like ‘the game of opposites’; life vs death, joy vs sorrow, success vs failure, light vs darkness, love vs indifference yet God allowed these things. Is he fair to us? The first reading today exalts the sovereignty of God (Wisdom 12:13). It is highly remarkable that in spite of the sovereignty of the Lord, His boundless mildness in judging sinners and forbearance in governing His people is amiably highlighted. The book of Wisdom gives us the picture of a sovereign God who uses His sovereignty in such a way that the power is not abused. In fact, the scale is tipped on the merciful and loving side. Wisdom tells us that God cares for all people; not just the Jews or just people, but also the sinners, Gentiles and the atheists, the foreigner and the outcast. To all people, God shows righteousness and he is willing to look for ways to spare all people. He is a role model for the way we should behave thereof calling us to life of patience and tolerance. God’s strength rules overall but he is boundlessly patient and tolerant to sinners.
Today we hear a beautiful description of God. On the contrary, I know some people say that the God of the Old Testament is a fire-breathing, vindictive God, but God is certainly not so in the book of Wisdom! The description of God the Spirit in Paul’s letter to the Romans today gives us the nature of Divine- Human relationship. The Spirit is God’s gift of himself to us, to inspire, to help us pray, to intercede for us so that justice can be blended with mercy on our behalf. What a merciful God!
In today’s Gospel, it is most significant that Jesus draws his parables from everyday activities of His people and with things very familiar to the people. He took the parable of the sower and the mustard seed from the farmer’s field; the parable of the of the wheat and tare from the perennial problem which confronted the famer in his struggle with the weeds; parable of the drag net from fishermen’s experience in the sea of Galilee; the parable of the treasure from the daily task of digging in the field and the parable of the great price from the world of commerce and trade; the parable of the leaven from the kitchen of an ordinary citizen which were things very familiar to the people. Nevertheless, I wonder why it was proverbial among Palestinians that the mustard seed was the smallest of seeds while there were still other seeds smaller than the mustard seed such as the cypress tree. May be it was ordinarily a common place language that the mustard seed was referred as the smallest of seeds especially when used in a proverb to refer to something as having a small beginning and prospects of greatness since the mustard seed though small, but always grows much more than every other tree. More so the attention of Jesus to the mustard seed must have been warranted by the traditional picture of a great empire or kingdom as a very big tree with subject nations depicted as birds finding rest and shelter within its branches (Ezekiel 31;6).
The first parable basically tells us that God allows everyone to be cared for both the just and unjust. The weeds grow up in the field along with the grain. This does not vitiate the justice of the Lord. He does not compromise evil rather he is relentlessly patient waiting the final day of judgment but even before then, he continues to allure us to repentance since we are the object of His love. Until this day of judgment by the just God who tempers justice with mercy; there is forgiveness, and those who have remained righteous will be highly rewarded because our God is a God of patience and tolerance. All three parables show this concept of mixing good seed and weed seed, yeast and unleavened bread, small seed and large tree. All of us have a chance to be saved, and so we need respect all people and their potential, and let every judgment come from the merciful One. Our own judgments are sometimes not so merciful as God would judge. Most times our prejudice and selfishness make us judge others wrongly. Many other times our presumed piety and religiosity makes us impatient with the seemingly sinners around us thereby condemning them.
Jesus’ parable today highlights divine limitless patience and tolerance to humanity. He is not always too quick to condemn us rather awaits the day of judgment hoping our repentance before then. Even as he awaits the final day of judgment, God desires we turn to him and he will forgive us. Even when we become tares among His seeds, the Lord is ever patient with us. Even when the seed of the Gospel is sown in us and our unwillingness makes its growth stunted he waits on us. The Lord is very patient till the time of judgment because he is a God of second chance. He awaits our repentance and he forgives us such that he is always very patient with us at all times and in all things. Even in the midst of seeds and weeds its not very easy to identify which is seed and weed because such conclusions are made on the day of judgment hence by this parable, the Lord refers to those who have the tendency of weeds to return to the Lord once more and be saved.
In the same vein my brothers and sisters, you who judge your neighbour why not be patient with God. More so, you are not the judge why then do you usurp the work of God (judgment). You who gossip, why not be patient with your neighbor; you may not have been better had you the same challenges with your neighbour. Why not be patient and tolerate your neigbours’ seemingly non sense and stupidity. Does God not do same for us? You may be holier, more just, more pius e.t.c. than the other; nevertheless, had he the same fortune with you; he/she may have been better than you. Why not be patient and pray for him/her. Remember, God has not finished with Him!
One may quickly ask, why doesn’t God simply pull up all weeds? Why doesn’t God, with fire and brimstone, simply blast evil off the face of the earth? Well, that’s a lot easier said than done. Suppose God did, what would happen? What would happen to each one of us? Aren’t we all a mixture of good and evil? Wouldn’t we still get caught up on the firestorm of evil’s destruction? God allows evil not by a conscious action but by his permissive will. He allows both the good and evil. He is always very patient and tolerant to all. We need to simply remember that to be like God, we need to be kind, compassionate, accepting, loving and non-judgmental. I am not sure those are all easy qualities to have, but that is what is being asked of us today.
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