Jesus tells a very interesting story in this Sunday’s Gospel about the parable of the weeds and the wheat. But first, a few introductory points are in order. Jesus is ever the teacher. And He teaches by telling stories. They are called parables. The trick in understanding a parable is to get the point He is trying to make.
In this parable the farmer sows good seed in the soil. His enemy comes and plants some weeds. And so the workers want to pull up the weeds. This would seem reasonable. Don’t you do this in your yard all the time? But the farmer refuses. He is afraid that, if you pull up the weeds, you will also uproot the wheat. “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.’”
Did you ever think that perhaps your faults have some benefits? We all want to get rid of our faults, provided we recognize we have them in the first place! We get discouraged when we go to confession (did I say “go to confession?”) and discover we are saying the same old things over and over again. In this parable Jesus says that the weeds can exist side by side with the wheat and God will sort it out at the end of our lives.
Along the way it just may be that our faults have some benefit. First, they keep us humble. Second, they keep us honest so that we don’t approach others with judgment. And our faults can remind us to treasure our virtues and use them to love others. There is value knowing both our capacity for evil and our capacity for good.
Jesus likens all of this to the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who sows good seed in the soil. The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that, though small, grows into the largest of plants. The Kingdom of God is the experience of living with God forever in the community of love we call Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Do you want to go to heaven? God wants you to go to heaven. God has made His decision. God wants you to live with Him forever. Have you made your decision? Have you cast your lots with Christ? Have you humbly and honestly faced your faults and taken the higher road of virtue in dealing with others? Have you been astute to the presence of the Evil One sowing dissent and bitterness in your heart? Have you been to confession recently?
May the Lord give you peace.
(The Weeds and the Wheat, Rev. James M. McNamara)