Friday, June 18, 2010

Wheat and Tares

In St. Gregory Palamas’ homily (#27) on the parable of the wheat and the tares, he explains that one reason why God does not allow the angels to separate the ungodly before the End (that is, to allow death to take the ungodly immediately) is the following: 
“Many impious and sinful people, living alongside those who are godly and righteous, eventually change by means of repentance, learn to be pious and virtuous, and become wheat instead of tares.  So if they were carried off by the angels before they repented, wheat would be uprooted when the tares were gathered.”
Repentance changes tares into wheat. Part of the reason why we suffer in this world is so that the very ones who cause our suffering (directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly) might find repentance.  It is instructive that the Church preserves the memory of St. Longinus, the centurion who was in charge of the Crucifixion of Christ.  The very man who carried out Christ’s Crucifixion, upon seeing how Christ suffered and died, came to believe in him.  So we too get to share in Christ’s sufferings and bear with great longsuffering the torments and lashes of those who “know not what they do.”  

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