‘Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them. Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God’ (Micah 3:6-7) The consequence of sin, for the community and the individual, is ‘reality distortion’. We cannot see our world as it is. Hanna Arendt warned us, after the catastrophe of World War II, that unexamined life is not worth living. We can add, life which is not examined in the light of God’s revealed Love cannot be lived. Reality, carefully observed through the Scriptures, is our way.
‘Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.’
Our passage from Matthew is about the wisdom of discernment. The Kingdom of God is about practicing this discernment: promoting goodness by working patiently for it.
The Kingdom of Heaven is examined life, discerned life. That is, reality observed through the lens of the Scriptures.
‘He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world. The son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire…Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.’
There is another important aspect of ‘discernment’ in the Kingdom of God. Namely, our good deeds are lasting. They - as an ontological reality, as a transformed part of our world - stay with us till the Messiah comes. Thus, discernment is ‘trans-generational’. It takes places through the accumulated effects of our good deeds. Discernment is a special vision through the transformed parts of our world. In this sense, discernment is deep-rooted. It is rooted in action.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..