Weeds Among the Wheat

Matthew 13: 24-30
Jer. 7: 1-11/ Ps 84: 3-6, 8, 11

…while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.
(Matthew 13: 29-30)

In God have faith and do not fear
If weeds of hate among us grow,
Not long to wait, His Judgment’s near
Our God is great, His love will show.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ He replied, ‘An enemy did this.’ The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ” (Matthew 13: 24-30)

Reflection

Only the Gospel of Matthew contains this parable of the weeds sown among the wheat. It contains both similarities and differences with the other parable preceding it. Like the Parable of the Sower, it talks about the kingdom of God here on earth, about the analogies of sower, seeds and earth, and about the presence of evil that thwarts the plans of God. But while the first parable illustrates the different kinds of soil, the second relates two different kinds of seeds, the bad and the good. Where evil snatches and chokes the good seeds in the first parable, it sows its own bad seeds among the good ones in the second parable.

Like the Parable of the Sower, this Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat is just as rich with lessons that our Lord is teaching His followers, both then and now. First of all, Jesus is telling us in this parable that the kingdom of God here on earth is not (yet) perfect. I think by “kingdom” our Lord is not referring to the world, but more likely to His Church. The devil has planted bad seeds in our community and in our Church so that God’s kingdom may not prosper here on earth. Even from the very start, a bad seed had already been sown among the apostles of Jesus. Judas was a sign that the Church built by Christ on earth would not be perfect, but would undergo so much trials and persecutions, both outside and within. In its early growth, we read about other bad seeds, like Ananias and Sapphira, who were cut off from the community for trying to deceive the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-10), and Simon the magician, who offered money to Peter for the Spirit’s power (Acts 8:9,18-24).

The kingdom of God (the Church) here on earth continues to grow by leaps and bounds, but it does not make a claim to be pure and perfect. In fact, many Catholics have left the faith because of its imperfections. They cite the many cases of homosexual priests and bishops, and other pastors of the church accused of adultery or secret marriages. But this is precisely what our Lord’s parable was prophesying about – the devil would continue to sow bad seeds (called tares) in the kingdom. Tares look almost like wheat, but they are actually weeds. Jesus tells us not to worry about them, as if saying, “Let them stay. Who knows, they might be converted. If not, then in the end they will receive their just desserts.” Let us not be too hasty about weeding them out, for in the process we may offend others with weaker faith who would not understand. Jesus tells us to be patient; Judgment will come in His time.

Thank You, Lord for making us see that there will always be evil in the world just as there will always be defects in our Church. Help us to be steadfast in our faith, never to be discouraged by imperfections, but to put our trust and hope in Your perfect plan. Amen.

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