Gospel Matthew 13:24-30
Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying:
“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seen in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds 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 the 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.’ ”
In this section of his Gospel, Matthew is on a roll with parables. But when you stop and think about, that’s how you and I grow up. And I don’t mean growing up from a baby to a teen-ager to an adult; by growing up it means we are all on a journey of life and every experience counts. Our goal is that one day we want to be with Heaven, and Jesus is simply saying, “In order for that to happen, I gave you a free will and so there will always be the wheat and the weeds.”
In the first reading we are told that God is the most lenient person we will ever meet, which means he doesn’t hold any grudges. He’s just waiting for us to respond, and to open up, and to make a difference within ourselves for this journey.
That’s why children at a very young age will hear a story at bedtime and they want to keep hearing that story. “Tell me that story again, and again, and again.” When they grow up and they have children, it is the same thing. “Tell me that story. I want to hear that story again and again.”
Children master the story and it’s not about the words, it’s more about, “I just want to listen and I want something with a happy ending.”
Jesus says to us, “That’s really how life is. There will always be weeds in our lives, things we just do not understand. And sometimes if we don’t accept the weeds with the wheat, we create ourselves to be a weed.”
What were your feelings this week when you turned on the television set and all the programs got interrupted and you were told there had been a plane crash? Three hundred people were killed. We don’t know the answer yet, but there had to be a certain amount of anger across the entire world. “Who would do such a thing?”
I don’t know the answer but what I do know is what Jesus is teaching us this morning. Those responsible for that travesty allowed themselves to become a weed. It is the rest of us who have to now be the wheat. We have to comfort all these families. We have to sit back and pray that whoever is the cause of this is going to have some kind of a change of heart.
It isn’t going to do any good to say, “When you find the guy send him to Quincy. We will hang him from this pillar up there and we will all clap and be happy.”
Jesus says, “That doesn’t work in my Kingdom.”
We become weeds when we don’t allow the wheat to have its space. And we can go on and on everyday. I don’t always understand except I know that only for the grace of God I could be doing some of these things.
I can’t understand as a parent that I would lock my children in a room or in the basement. I just cannot fathom that. So I look and I say, “These parents that do that, something is wrong. They do not understand the wheat is overgrowing in their garden but the weeds are taking over everything.
But then Jesus comes into the picture and says, “Let it be. If those who are wheat continue to grow in their faith, they will eventually nourish the weeds.”
But just as soon as we get one weed back on track another one will sprout up. We all know that from gardens and from yards. You can go out there every day and all of a sudden you say, “Man, I just hoed this whole garden and the weeds are all back again.”
That is what God is trying to tell us, “The only thing that really matters in life is the wheat. It’s the wheat that is going to change the world and we don’t change it by plastering a billboard, we change it by loving and forgiving each other day-by-day in our lives.
This morning we might just need to be very grateful. We’ve all made mistakes, we are all sinners, we are not perfect. But someone overpowered us and taught us how to become wheat, and it was that leniency of God that came into our life. And so we change our ways. We may go for a spell and we don’t pray because we are too busy. All of a sudden something happens — I lose my job, I have a heart attack, and all of a sudden it kicks back in and I start praying again.
That’s how most of us live our lives and we are not as perfect as we would like to be.
But Jesus says, “You know, my Kingdom is so great, so fabulous and the end result is that one day you will be with me. But until then, just know there will always be that mixture of weeds and wheat. It’s only at the end when I will enter the picture. And that’s when I will say, ‘With your free will you have chosen this for yourself. But if you desire to be with me, you have no worry. I am the wheat of all wheat. My love for you is without end.’
“So, don’t tell me what you did wrong. Tell me what you are going to do to make it right. Because once you make it right you become a person of love, of spirit, of power, of hope and the whole world enters into that experience.”
For us it’s very humbling to acknowledge that at certain moments we are weeds. But it is also the joy of life to know that with God’s love I am now wheat. I am like the seed of that mustard seed that now has grown to its full beauty. And other people will come to me and be able to rest and to find hope in what I do. They will discover love by what I do, and together the garden that God has planted is the garden of love.
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Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.