This last week I read a book entitled, Tobit’s Dog written by Michael N. Richard. The book is a retelling of the Book of Tobit set in the segregated South of the Depression era. The Book of Tobit (not found in Protestant Bibles) is, in many ways, a reflection on sin, suffering and the question of why troubles come upon us. Even if one does not go looking for trouble it seems that troubles will often come looking for us in life. Why is this? One thing that the Book of Tobit reveals is that even though God does not send troubles our way; God is willing to aid and help us learn from the troubles that we do encounter in life.
At one point in the story the young Tobias is wondering about these matters while he and the archangel Raphael (going by the name “Ace Redbone” – a travelling musician) are on journey. At this point, Ace offers some wise advice, “Tobias, life will have no happily ever after until that day when Heaven merges completely with the created world around us.”
In this Sunday’s gospel (Mt. 13:24-43), our Lord gives us three images of the Kingdom of God – the grain growing alongside the weeds, the growing mustard seed and the active yeast. What is helpful is recognizing that all of these three images are in process, they are active. We are on journey toward the Kingdom of God, we are not there yet, and not only that but all creation is also on journey toward the fullness of the Kingdom of God. Last Sunday, in his Letter to the Romans (Rom. 8:18-23) St. Paul wrote, I consider that the sufferings of the present life cannot be compared with the Glory that will be revealed and given to us. All creation is eagerly expecting the birth in glory of the children of God. The resurrection, the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God is active; it is transforming us and all of creation also!
“Tobias, life will have no happily ever after until that day when Heaven merges completely with the created world around us.”
We are on journey. In this life there will be no ultimate “happily ever after” no matter the messages we are sold. There will be troubles but we can learn from the troubles of life and we can praise God even in the midst of them. One truth to be gained from the parable of the grain and weeds, I believe, is that we should not be frightened by the fact that an evil plant grows rather, what truly counts on our part, is to make the good plant grow as much as possible.
If we, in our lifetime, can help to make the Kingdom of God grow even to the smallest fraction then we have done well.
God is bringing about his Kingdom. We are on journey.