“Do you want us to go and gather them?” 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.” O Lord of hosts, * happy are they who trust in you.
This may only be true for me, but my guess is that somewhere along the way we’ve all known a very particular kind of longing: a longing to be, in the words of Fr. Basil Maturin, “as though [we] had never sinned,”—a “longing of the heart… at any cost to pluck up the tares which have been left to grow so long.” This morning Jesus invites us into another agricultural parable of the Kingdom; and unlike the parable of the sower, which we hear in the same chapter of Matthew’s gospel, this one draws us into the uneasy fields of yielding—yielding to God’s wisdom alone. As we tread upon the soil of this parable, let us keep the words of Our Lady near at hand: be it unto me according to your word.
Matthew 13:24-30 (Parable of the Weeds)
There’s a saying they have in the US Marines and Special Forces, “Kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out.” That seems to be just about the opposite of letting everything grow together like in the parable of the weeds. But I do appreciate some of the wisdom in it, namely “let God sort them out,” which can be shortened even further to “let God.” An example might be, let God take care of weeding out sources of pain and suffering in someone else’s life.
The thought of an enemy sowing weeds – typically, a particularly strain of weed whose early blossoms looked very much like wheat – into a farmer’s field was so real and so common that its punishment was codified into Roman law in Jesus’ day. This actually happened, an enemy sowing weeds among the wheat. There are three lessons we can draw from Jesus’ parable about the weeds and the wheat.