The Explanation of the Parable of the Weeds

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Tuesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time


Matthew 13:36-43 

Then, dismissing the crowds, he went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”


Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant that I may recognize the good seed sown and cultivate it with prayer, sacrifice, and charity.


Encountering Christ:


  1. Keeping the End in Mind: In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus explained the parable that we saw earlier in the month. There is a great contrast between the good seed and the weeds. At the end time, God appears wrathful, collecting and burning the weeds. But this is his justice, by which he is glorified. We can also imagine the heart of God rejoicing over those righteous ones that shine like the sun in the kingdom of the Father. This is his greatest desire, that not one be lost. Until the end harvest, there is time to labor—and the labor is urgent. Are we aware of the battle taking place between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the evil one? This parable helps us to see what is at stake. How can keeping the end in mind influence our daily choices to grow in friendship and discipleship in the Lord?
  2. Whoever Has Ears Ought to Hear: Jesus warns of the need to listen. The Latin word “ob-audire” means “to listen.” It is also the translation of the word “obedience.” We listen, not to follow a strict God who seeks to impose wrath upon us, but to hear the voice of a loving Father who prompts us and encourages us to walk a righteous path. All have ears to hear, but it is a matter of exercising the capacity. There are those who seek to close their ears intentionally. There are others whose ears are dulled due to circumstances and life choices; they lack attentiveness to the voice of God. Then there are those who are positioned to truly hear, if they will listen. How are we positioned? Are we ready and willing to hear and obey?
  3. Whose Child Will I Be?: Jesus speaks of two kinds of children in this passage. He likens the good seed to the children of the kingdom. He likens the weeds to the children of the evil one. A child is simple and moldable by the influence of those around him or her. Is the child within us simple, aware of the influences that seek to motivate us? St. Ignatius teaches us how to be aware of the good spirit and the enemy’s voice at work in our lives. For one who seeks to live the faith, the voice of the enemy is usually discouraging, unkind, and leading us away from any movement of faith, hope, and charity. He strives to create self-centered children that seek their own selfish pursuits. The voice of the Good Spirit, on the other hand, enlightens, encourages, and is gentle and kind. Even in his chastisement of souls, he seeks to correct in order to increase faith, hope, and charity. He encourages self-giving and selflessness out of genuine and authentic love. At the end of time, the Father will rejoice in these souls, because he will see the imprint of his Son in their hearts. 


Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, I desire to be a child in your kingdom. Help me to distinguish between the voice of the enemy and your voice. Give me the grace to obey your word so as to follow you.


Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will strive to be aware of the influences of the Good Spirit and the enemy of my soul.

For Further Reflection: How to Listen When God Is Speaking, Father Mitch Pacwa, SJ.

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