Gospel Reading & Reflection

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

The Parable of Weeds among the Wheat

Jesus put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?” He answered, “An enemy has done this.” The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!



"Let anyone with ears Listen"

An American author (Ella Willcox) wrote a poem called "The Weed" It read as follows:

                             "A weed is but an unloved flower!
                              Go dig, and prune, and guide, and wait,
                              Until it learns its high estate,
                              And glorifies some bower,
                              A weed is but an unloved flower!"

Possibly true, yet for most gardeners, that weed can crowd out all the vegetables and flowers that we are trying to nurture and grow. Most of us know the experience of weeding a cultivated area - whether it is a flower bed or a vegetable patch - only to find the next moment the weeds appear to have sprung back again, just as vigorous as before.

Perhaps Jesus' audience may have laughed to hear the plight of the landowner, who wakes one morning to find that the weeds have been sown amongst the wheat. On the other hand, however, if the crop was spoiled, the price of bread would go up, so the poorest workers and their families would struggle and might well go hungry. 

When Jesus explains the parable, He doesn't talk about the spoiled crop, but of patience in the face of finding that weeds have been sown amongst the wheat. He foresees a time when order will be restored and justice will be done. Sorting out the weeds can't be rushed says Jesus, because that would result in too much damage to the wheat and could incur a huge loss.

If you, like me, are a gardener battling with weeds, and you rush to sort out your veg patch or flower bed using strong weed killer, or digging with an implement that is too clumsy, you run the risk that everything might get ruined. There are things you can see, such as flowers and vegetables and then there are those that aren't visible to the naked eye, such as the teeming life of the soil - this forms the delicate infrastructure which needs to nourish the plants roots and enable things to grow and flourish.

No! Rushing can't solve the problem of the weeds. Rather, it takes careful and thoughtful, prayerful and active, participation to move through our current problems and fears together.

God is firmly in the picture. We face big challenges in our world, none more so than climate change, when the delicate balance of our eco-system has been disrupted by years of clumsy husbandry. Yet amidst all of this, God's promise is to be there as we do the slow and careful work of restoration. The promise that God will hold our hand as we work at it, can be enough to give us the courage we need.


God bless you all, Fr. Michael.


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