Sourced from the website “Bible Bites,” the cockles sewn in a landowner’s field of wheat in Sunday’s from Matthew is the darnel plant, the seeds of which contain a soporific poison that bears “the closest resemblance to wheat until the ear appears, and only then is the difference discovered.” Elsewhere on Google, ripe darnel is black while ripened wheat is brown; their identities are recognized only at the end of a growing process. Ninety-nine percent of grass seeds are edible, but while darnel seeds are as nutritious as oats, eating them runs the risk of fungal infection.
Jesus’ parables are didactic poems with multiple implications. In its specific context, Jesus’ parable warns of an end time that will manifest the pernicious results of covenanted Jews having colluded with the Roman authorities in governing Jerusalem. In the context of interior dispositions, His parable exposes symbolically that we are originally hindered from being naturally fit for purpose to love God and neighbour, and to live with a vision of justice and interdependence of all who live on planet Earth. From birth we receive genes that, when activated, become the body’s enemy. We receive genetic codes that, when activated, are anti-life. By nurture our beings are misinformed by exposure to the struggles against contamination [within themselves] of those who brought about our existences.
We are seldom in our right minds. While “original sin” in this context becomes a viable postulant, the intuition that humanity begins in “original innocence” lacks experiential evidence: all of humanity seems punished to suffer illegitimately. (See Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled.) Our evolution into beings who can create an Artificial Intelligence, whose foundation is processing the deep data gathered from human language and experience will be “contaminated”. AI will become yet another tool that is ripe to foster and produce more of our illegitimate suffering.
The Holy Spirit groans and struggles in and with us (Rom 8:26-27), as we do the inner work of recognizing our contamination. Humanity is like Lazarus bound for death. Only Christ can save us now. Self-knowledge will eventually place us on our knees, waiting for a grace to live more freely (more compassionately) that we know for certain we can’t give to ourselves.
For us who were nurtured in a Christian context, the person of Jesus was uncontaminated of illegitimate suffering yesterday, today and forever. If Jesus is not the son of God, no hope is available in the human scheme of things than to slog through until the seeds of our destruction grow to full ripeness. If the Holy Spirit is not groaning along with us and for us, we’re all bleating goats in the end who have no pastor.
“It is the Spirit who awakens in our heart the faith and hope in which we cry for the eschatological fulfilment and vision. In this hope there is already a beginning, a “promise” of fulfilment. This is our contemplation: the realization and “experience” of the life-giving Spirit in Whom the Father is present to us through the Son, our way, truth, and life. The realization that we are on our way, that because we are on our way, we are in that Truth which is the end and by which we are already fully and eternally alive” (Thomas Merton, The Intimate Merton, p. 232).
By Jonathan Montaldo