I don’t know much about gardening other than ‘weeds are bad.’ I remember as a child my parents would have us weed the front lawn and they taught us to do it right. We had to get the roots out. This was so that the flowers could grow and the lawn would look nice. But God does something different than a typical gardener would do with weeds. Rather than pulling them up as things are growing, the Master Gardener waits to weed until the end of time. The Good and Bad are separated and each receives their due. Why does He do that? One of the reasons is that in our free will, God is patient with us sinners: those who want to strive towards him, those of us who stumble, fall, and get back up as we learn the good and love the good that we ought to do.
This is not only a pleasant thought for us; it is also a practical thought. Each one of us suffers from the consequences of a fallen world where the wheat and weeds grow together. In this fallen world, all of us are wounded by our own sins and the sins of other people, sometimes in obvious ways and sometimes in hidden ways. In this fallen world, every sin causes wounds – both to ourselves and to other people. That is how the weeds grow. When we take time to think, to reflect on the weeds of sin that sprout in our lives, we can become discouraged. When we look at the wounds, the damage, the sin, the weakness, they can seem to be so deep that fixing them is beyond our natural ability. However, we don’t have to depend on our natural ability; God comes to our aid. He doesn’t just throw us out. God sends us His saving grace, especially in His Sacrament of Confession, where He embraces us and does not condemn us. If it takes Him a million and one times to forgive us of our sins, so that it captures our hearts, then it is worth it.
God is a patient God: there is no limit to His forgiveness and mercy – no limit to His ability to give us a fresh start, and this is great news. Here is the catch, though; God wants us to do the same with others. We need to recall the patience that God shows us in our sinfulness so that the door to repentance can be open, even for an enemy.