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Harvest-time: the good to the heaven and the tares to fire.

Mat.13:24-30

Parables are mysteries that any one may enter on condition that he is really in earnest. Where there is no vision, the people perish (Pro.29:18). A wise man asks the right questions and from right quarters. Power is in his persistence. Pearl of great price shall not be found by wayside. So man with vision is one possessed of his need and ready to spare no efforts in order to acquire it.

Power and Wisdom are the eternal qualities of the Godhead and when the Psalmist affirms ‘the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord (Ps.33:5)’ he touches upon those qualities as being in full evidence. While he is so convinced why do not we see the world around us differently? A skeptic would declare that whoever is the Supreme Being has abandoned it; and a humanist shall suggest man can achieve it if he tried hard enough. Such are ideas man can play with and lacking in vision wisdom of man is like the blind leading the blind. Man being full of his own ability to manage his affairs has created a no man’s land. It is what one may call as ways of the world. Man made the earth a global village after inventing airplanes. Progress for him is motion while what he touts as progress has added another arsenal to indiscriminate killing of civilians and cities with aerial bombings, to which progress can claim equally having had an hand. Is it not the prince of the power of the air or the devil who is behind all this?
God sowed the good seed but ‘An enemy hath done this.’ In the parable servants of God ask God, ‘Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?’ Answer of God reveals his long-suffering nature (v.29). God is perfect and it means his Power and Wisdom do not contradict one another. Instead love of God is the hallmark of whatever God does. Here what he says to them: “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn”.

There shall come a day of judgment: gathering of souls is indicated by ‘the wheat into my barn.’
Benny

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Parable of the Mustard Seed Matt.13:31-32; Lk.13:18-19; Mk.4:31-32

This parable clearly sets the significance of the mustard seed. It is like the kingdom of heaven or of God. Jewish background of St Matthew was strongly ingrained in his worldview that he avoided mentioning the name as far as possible. We may treat this kingdom as planted in the world after the Advent of Jesus Christ. A clue to this we have in the same chapter. ‘The field is the world (v.38).’The Son of man is the message. He gave his life in order to make it grow. A child of God is like an herb tender and lowly as he was. His spiritual growth depends not on what the worldly wise would understand. The Psalmist mentions about such a tree as the mustard tree and it is a tree planted by rivers of water (Ps.1:3). Growing in wisdom he shall be a source of comfort to many who come in contact with him. As the epistle to Philemon makes clear his hospitality shall refresh the saints who come to lodge under his roof.
In the Book of Daniel we read of a tree that is of an altogether league.
King Nebuchadnezzar is compared to a mighty tree (Dan.4:21) on whose branches fowls used to take shelter. But his oversized pride and sense of grandeur needed to be cut to size. What is man but mere breath and once it is taken away what does his glory leave in his wake? Nothing. This is what God wanted the king to realize. His subjects shall seek shelter under another king and the strangers while passing through the realm not seek his company.
Benny

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Baron Thunder-ten-Tronck built his castle for view and his household for his will and pleasure.The baronness weighed three hundred and fifty pounds and she brought thirty million gold pieces, which pleased him. Her daughter, Cunegonde, aged seventeen and son taking after his vanity and bad jokes, were their chief joy. Baron told jokes point of which escaped all but at the way the servants laughed it was plain that he was a man of wit. He was the lord of the manor and he doted on Candide whose parentage was somewhat lost in translation. But no matter the boy was mild and honest. He as guardian had taken him under his wings.
Benny

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Candide is for all ages. His story could well be the story of an immigrant going to the west imagining the goodness of man. As professed by the doctor, the church and the politician, their institutions are altogether different from what really faces him at every turn. Rascality of man is only demonstrable when called to a given situation. Let us see how far I can go on with Candide and as I believe, no one shall tell how unless one really gets down to it. So I shall in the coming weeks post as and when I get the artwork and story get moving.
Benny

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A child growing in an environment of domestic violence becomes a victim as well as the perpetrator.”This adage applies to individuals as well as nations. We read stories of caravan of migrant families seeking refuge in the US. They are escaping failed states whose failure begins with the US itself.

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service,” an American veteran named Smedley Butler once wrote, “and during that period, I spent most of my time as a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers.”

Butler had fought in the so-called Banana Wars of the early 20th century, when the American military sent their troops south into Central America to keep their business interests there intact.

It was a time when mistreated workers across Central America were getting fed up with working long hours in harsh conditions for less than a living wage. Workers started grumbling. Some went on strike. Some threw together militias and waged full-on rebellions to fight for better conditions.

But for the American government, all this fighting for freedom was bad for business. Companies like the United Fruit Company had a vested interest in keeping their Central American plantations stable and so they called in the American Army to crack down on those who were disrupting the system.
Butler and other soldiers like him were thus sent to Central America to fight the Banana Wars. When a rebellion in the Dominican Republic, for example, damaged an American-owned sugar cane plantation, American troops were sent in, starting in 1916. They took over a small castle called Fort Ozama, killed the men inside and set up a military presence to protect their business interests.

Troops also moved into Haiti to quell the Cacao Rebellion in 1915, partly to protect the interests of the Haitian-American Sugar Company. The U.S. Army stayed behind even after the war was over, patrolling the streets of Haiti and making sure that no one got out of line.

And in Honduras, where the United Fruit Company and the Standard Fruit Company were worried about their banana sales, the American Army marched in on seven separate occasions throughout the early 20th century. Sometimes the army was called in to crush strikes, other times to stop revolutions — but every time, it was to keep business booming.

Hundreds of American soldiers and thousands of locals died in the Banana Wars. Strikes and revolutions were crushed and put to an end – all while the profits of a handful of companies were maintained.
“I might have given Al Capone a few hints,” Butler said. “The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”(All-thats-interesting/The Banana Wars- Mark Oliver.Septt.14,17)

Bananas and politics collude and as Melania Trump’s coat says it succinctly ‘I really dont care, do U?’The US collected their profits but moral culpability shall pursue them even if they fly to the space to found a colony there.

Benny

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Two princes Siddiq and Yousef were like two peas in a pod but their fathers found them so contrary in temperament and approach to life. Siddiq the son of Emir of Ajmer was quiet contemplative while Yousuf the son of the Emir of Pathankot very impulsive and headstrong. Their kingdoms small and contiguous to one another the princes grew up together. Siddiq one day saw a dream and he told his playfellow. “Imagine being knocked over by the sun! It disappeared right through the ground.” The prince was so impressed and added,”Imagine all that remained was a stone tree where the sun had disappeared.” Next it was the turn of Yousef who told his dream. He said he had tied his chariot drawn by two horses but it was all gone when the sun shone brightly. As though the horses were carved of ice!”

Years went by. Siddiq was more immersed in scholarly works and Sufi teachers and thought the earth was as one pond in which the kingdoms were so many leaves flowering and fading. Slowly his interest in governing his kingdom became of less interest to him. Mercifully Yousef who was all for power descended on Ajmer and sent Siddiq into exile.
In a way Siddiq was relieved. He went with one of his trusted friend as a monk. He was intrigued by his dream that now and then recurred mostly the same images, the stone tree, the sun and it signified something to him.
One day Yousef as the first lord of the realm would authorize the union of Ajmer and Pathankote into one state.

During the coronation an earthquake split the spot where Emir Youse was seated. No more of him. Siddiq after hearing the calamity told his companion looked up and said, “Had I not relinquished the throne, I would have been the casuality.” Now that I have life left I shall sit under that strange tree and spend my life in quiet contemplation.
All that Siddiq hoped for was being enlightened as to mysteries of life. He saw in the sun as a source that made it all possible.
Benny

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