SHARING SPIRITUAL FOOD: - Fr. Davies Edassery Sac
OT XVI [A] Kingdom of Heaven is Like: Wis 12:13, 16-19; Rom 8:26-27; Mt 13:24-43
Today’s readings tell us about a very patient and compassionate God Who is hopeful that the so-called “weeds” among us will be converted. They warn us that we should not be in a hurry to eliminate such elements from the Church or society or the family based on unwarranted and hasty judgment.
The Gospel contains three parables, namely the parable of the mustard seed, parable of the yeast and the parable of the wheat and weed. The parables of the mustard seed and yeast tells us how God’s kingdom grows in human heart and human lives from a very small beginning, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The parable of the wheat and weeds tells us how and why evil coexists with good in the world and how we should treat the evil ones.
The “weeds” among the wheat in the parable are a variety of tares known as “bearded darnel.” They resemble wheat plants so closely that it is impossible to distinguish the one from the other until the ears of seed appear. By that time, the wheat and darnel roots are so intertwined that the tares cannot be weeded out without plucking the wheat out with them. At the end of the harvest the tares must be removed from the wheat by hand, because they are slightly poisonous. Sowing them in the wheat field was a crude way for an enemy to take revenge on a farmer. The weeds in the parable stand for unrepentant sinners, people whose priority is themselves, who use others for their own advancement or pleasure, instead of serving them. These unrepentant sinners, unless they cooperate with God’s grace, repent and change their lives, will end up in Hell, “the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” The wheat stands for the righteous, those who have resisted the seductions of evil, repented of their sins, and battled against selfishness in order to follow Jesus Christ.
We need to pray for the conversion of “weeds” to wheat: We are called to recognize evil, name it and then to give it to God in prayer so He can take care of it, the way the farmer in the parable told his servants that he would take care of the weeds. God wants us to do good instead of evil, to bless instead of cursing, to praise instead of criticizing, to help instead of standing aside, to love instead of hating, to forgive instead of resenting and to tell the truth instead of lies. The disciples to whom Jesus addresses this parable include Judas who will betray Jesus, Peter, who will deny him, Thomas, who will doubt him and James and John, who cherish personal ambitions. In the end, only Judas is (apparently) lost, showing us that many “weeds” can become high yielding wheat.
Messages: 1) We need to practice patience and show mercy. God is so merciful that He allows evil to exist in order that what is good may grow. He allows evil to exist also because He can turn it into good. Through the power of the Spirit, God can change even the ugliest thorn into a blossom of Faith. In God’s field, we have two responsibilities: to grow in grace or and to share His Word and love with others.
2) We need to grow up as healthy wheat in God’s field, leaving the “weeds” for God to take care of. The Good News is that growth and maturity are probably the most effective forms of weed control. Our transparent and exemplary Christian lives will be a compelling challenge and a forceful invitation to evildoers to repent of their sinful lives and turn to a loving and forgiving God. Our acts of charity, kindness, mercy, encouragement, loving correction and selfless service can prompt the “weeds” in our society to reassess their lives, modify them and become useful members of society.
“Who is a Saint and who is a sinner? There was this village, which was plagued with sheep thieves, and it was about time they were taught a lesson. Two of them were caught and branded on their foreheads with the letters ‘ST’ standing for sheep thieves, that would be their punishment for life! Unable to bear the shame one of them ended his life, while the other decided to mend his ways. He set about doing all the odd jobs in the village and would help all those who needed help. Years passed and his misdeed was forgotten. As an old man now he was looked upon as someone who could be relied upon to help anyone in need. One day as he was passing by, he heard little children talking about him. One remarked: “I wonder what those letters ‘ST’ on his forehead stand for?” Another child replied “I am not sure, but he is such a kind man, I am sure ‘ST’ stands for Saint!” (Anonymous)”