The Tare-able Church

Sunday July 19, 2020 The Sixteenth Sunday Ordinary Time (Cycle A)

The tie in between today’s readings: The Second Conversion

Psalm 86:5-16, Wisdom 12:13-19, Romans 8:26-27, Matthew 13:24-43

In Matthew 13:24-43, Jesus gives three parables about the Kingdom of God. The Jews at this time believed the Messiah’s role was the restoration of Israel to its former glory. Our Lord has bigger plans. He teaches us that despite its humble beginnings, the Church will have a global focus and reach the ends of the earth with the gospel of salvation. The story about the wheat and the tares highlights the fact that the advance of God’s Kingdom into the world will face Satanic opposition. In fact, the Devil will be so good at his strategies that it will be impossible for anyone to tell the difference between his followers (tares) and true Christians (wheat). It will take the discernment of God at the end of time to separate them. Even though the thrust of today’s gospel theme is Christ building His Church into Satan’s world, let’s not be naive. Our Adversary is also building his world into the Church. False clergy have and always will pop up in the parishes (Matthew 7:15, Mark 13:22, Acts 20:29). There are always the clueless, the careless, and the counterfeit in the pews who coddle their own personal views of truth (Matthew 25:1-13, 2 Timothy 4:3 2 Peter 2:22). Our Lord says, “Be aware of them, but don’t start your own personal inquisition.” Pray for them! This is the age of grace after all! Let us take a moment to pick up on the gospel’s warning and explore the concept of wheat and tares in the church. It all starts with Baptism.

Just as a baby boy joined the Family of God in the Old Testament through circumcision, our children typically join the Catholic Church through infant Baptism. As our young Jewish man grows up, his parents and Rabbis mentor him in the scripture in the hope that, one day, he would reach a level of love and faith in Jehovah that makes his circumcision spiritually valid…a circumcision of the heart (Deuteronomy 30:6, Jeremiah 4:4, Romans 2:29). Despite the benefits an infant receives through Baptism, this sacrament depends on the faith of the Church to make it effective.  It is only a first step across a bridge of faith for our baby to reach his spiritual fulfillment on the other side. So, we all start out as tares with the potential to become wheat. Yet, we are still in the Church, nonetheless. We have met the enemy and he is us. The Church tries to foster saving faith through its teachings and the sacraments, but a large obstacle stands in the way. Many of us today, as they did in the Old Testament, assume that faith is agreeing with doctrine and participating in sacraments. Believing that this fulfills our faith journey, we stop and settle in halfway across the bridge. We have a head faith, but we need a heart faith to reach the other side. This is accomplished through an encounter with the grace of God and the second conversion.

Not much is said about the second conversion for some reason, but it is the key element to salvation.  It is hard to explain because it is intimately personal and so it is subjective. It’s not something that you say or do, but rather, it is something that you become by faith. There is an indescribable God element necessary with it. The components of this faith can be seen through sacramental illustrations.  It starts out with Matrimony.  Each of us individually, by faith, need to see our self as being united to Christ in a spiritual marriage.  In this spiritual unity, where the two of us become one, we enter into His passion and crucifixion, by faith, through the Eucharist. Two thousand years ago, when Jesus dies and is resurrected, we spiritually die and resurrect with Him and, by faith, become born again as children of God. Our Baptism is complete and our new life in Christ begins (Romans 6:3-14). This saving heart faith is a total identification and projection of ourselves into Jesus and is a gift to us by the grace of God. We perceive that we have it and our second conversion is real because the Holy Spirit gives us a “knowing” about it (Romans 8:16, 2 Timothy 1:12, 1 John 5:10-13).

For some, this God given faith comes gradually and as naturally as growing up. Others obtain it through crisis of life and spirit as they reach their “Come to Jesus” moment. Either way, it is a matter of the heart that can be expressed through the principles found in our reading in Psalm 86:5-16. First, the Lord is ready to forgive (vs 5). Second, see your need for forgiveness from sin (vs 6-7). Third, recognize who you are dealing with (vs 8-10). Fourth, cherish your salvation (vs 11-13). Fifth, stay strong in your commitment to God by His grace (vs14-16). Sometimes, in second conversion explanations, you see prayers of commitment to Jesus. While there is no real formula to follow to obtain the second conversion, it surely doesn’t hurt to join in the prayer if it reflects your soul’s desire. God knows your deepest thoughts, as it says in our reading in Romans 8:26-27.

To conclude, our reading in Wisdom 12:13-19 emphasizes that there is a judgement coming. God is uniquely qualified to separate the wheat from the tares…and there are so many tares! For now, He offers grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Let us in the Church examine ourselves to see if we are really in the faith as the Apostle Paul entreats us (2 Corinthians 13:5). The question is not, “Do you love God” but, “Are you in love with God?” It’s not whether you invited Jesus into your life, but is Jesus your life? Are you striving to enter through the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13-14)? Do you have a “knowing” about your relationship with Jesus and does He know you? If you are not sure of your position in Christ, seek and you will find! Please follow up on the links below for further study about the second conversion. It is important!  In the end, you will discover that Christianity is not a religion…it’s a relationship.

Click the following links to read more about the second conversion:

Catholic Missionary Disciples

Surrender Your Life to Jesus

Second Conversion

Holy Cross Catholic Church- Second Conversion

Catholic Bridge Baptism

Catholic Bridge Born Again Catholics

A Sacramental Illustration of Saving Faith

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