The Gardener’s Patience & Compassion

If there is one character in the Harry Potter series readers love to hate, that would be Snape.

As one of Harry’s teachers in Hogwarts, he terrorized the latter in the classroom; he would ask him the most difficult questions and train on him the most esoteric magical spells.

In the flashbacks, it was revealed that Snape had an axe to grind since Harry’s dad James Potter, bullied him when they themselves were once students—not to mention that Lily, Harry’s mom, was Snape’s love interest before, and even after, James entered the scene.

But even without these details, the mere physical appearance of Snape would send the readers of the book—and of its film version—into stereotyping him as nothing but evil.

His big black eyes, pallid complexion and heavily greased dark hair would remind one of Dracula; this characterization of Snape would make one easily conclude that he is not only cold, but he’s downright evil.

In the last installment however, came the surprising revelation. Readers would gasp at the exposition that he was a good guy after all. His playing ‘evil’ was necessary in order to achieve greater good, that is, in order to stop He-who-must-not-be-named from claiming back his full powers. In the book’s epilogue, Harry describes Snape as “one of the bravest men I knew.”

In our Gospel this Sunday, Jesus points out at the striking mixture of wheat and weeds which look uncannily the same. Hence, his advice for the necessary leniency and patience so that in proper time, the wheat may be saved, and the weeds be disposed of.

I recall that years ago, when I was in practical training, I became the unofficial care-taker of the plants in the seminary. An aspirant came to me one afternoon, with a plucked out plant in his hand, asking me if it is possible if we could be take care of it in our greenhouse. I examined the plant and it took me sometime before I figured out that it’s merely weed.

My point here is that plants and weeds look the same—at some point—that one ought to know his plants very well so that one may be able to distinguish them from the weeds. But this does not entail mere expertise alone, it also highlights the importance of time—and with it—the virtue of patience.

It is in this regard that the Gardener par excellence gracefully does His job.

He gently waits for his plants to grow. He is patient enough to strike at the right time to eliminate the weeds so that no wheat may be compromised.

This reality leads me to see what the world looks like. There are good people and bad people alike living in just one neighborhood; saints and sinners abound in the church; there are decent people and dishonest people working in the government and even in private organizations. I need not to go farther since in the human body, there lies the existence of good cells, which are responsible for growth, and of bad cells, which account for the sickness.

God does wait. He doesn’t have that compulsion to pluck me out when I commit a mistake. He exercises patience to encourage me to grow, and respecting my freedom, gently prods me to make me realize that I need some shaping up.

This leads me to see the need to radiate His patience in the midst of my human family who is prone to frailty and sin. Owing to my acceptance that I am weak, I extend my hand of forgiveness to others, freeing them from the mental prison I jailed them in. Lies underneath each of them is a beautiful image of the Creator which beckons me to discover, appreciate and love.

But before I do just that, I remind myself to start the difficult work in chipping off the ugliness in me so that with God’s help, I may discern well to see the beauty He painstakingly crafted within me.

To extend my patience and to be compassionate to others, I ought to make myself first its primary recipient.

 

 

 

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