The Parable of the Weeds among the Wheat
July 24, 2021 (readings)
- Saturday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
- Jennifer Ristine
He proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, send your Spirit to sharpen my spiritual awareness of the influence of good and evil spirits in my daily life.
The Kingdom of Heaven Here on Earth: Jesus made use of many parables to help us understand the value of the kingdom of heaven. He also taught us to pray for the kingdom to come and he preached repentance, “for the kingdom of God is at hand.” Listening to Jesus preach about the kingdom, we begin to understand that it is a dynamic process at work among us. He is the kingdom in his very presence. He desires to reign in us so we may possess his very life within. As we enter into his mystery and participate in the life of grace, the kingdom of God grows within and among us. But Jesus does not force it upon us. Being made in his image, we are free to receive or reject life. Part of this freedom involves being aware of the influences that affect our free choices. While on earth there is a battle brewing between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Are we aware of the battle? Which kingdom are we participating in?
Patience: As the good seed is sown, so also is the enemy at work, sometimes in unseen ways. God must exercise a lot of patience to allow for the growth of both types of seed to grow in the midst of his creation, a creation that he made good. If there were no hope of a decent harvest, the Lord might be “tempted” to strike down the world in one fell swoop. But he does not. He is patient, allowing us to share in his providential plan. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us of the great dignity to which we are called. “To human beings, God even gives the power of freely sharing in his providence by entrusting them with the responsibility of subduing the earth and having dominion over it. God thus enables men to be intelligent and free causes in order to complete the work of creation, to perfect its harmony for their own good and that of their neighbors. Though often unconscious collaborators with God's will, they can also enter deliberately into the divine plan by their actions, their prayers, and their sufferings. They then fully become ‘God's fellow workers’ and coworkers for his kingdom” (CCC 307).
Deliberate Decisions: At the end of the parable, the Master instructed all the harvest to be collected. The weed was tied into bundles for burning, whereas the wheat was gathered into the Master’s barn. The image offers us food for thought and personal examination. What will we be able to harvest in our own life, Lord? What are the weeds? What is the wheat that we are tending? Life is too short to allow random growth and hope for the best. Let us be aware of our deliberate decisions. The choices we make are not indifferent to the kingdom of God. Let us ask him to sow good seed, to be attentive to any weeds, and to nourish the crop so that it may find its way to our good Master’s “barn.”
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me to be attentive to the work of the good and evil spirits so that I may freely participate in building your kingdom in my heart and in the world. Thank you for your patience with me as I am transformed by your grace.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will be aware of the deliberate and intentional decisions I make that lead me toward you or away from you. I will desire to consciously participate in and build your kingdom.
For Further Reflection: Ignatian Discernment, Father Timothy Gallagher, OMV.
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