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Weeds in Good Soil
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
He proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all 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 your 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.”’” He proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’” He spoke to them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He spoke to them only in parables, to fulfill what had been said through the prophet: I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world. 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, open my ears to hear your Word. Please teach me the meaning of your parables as they apply to my life of faith.
- Mercy and Justice: We would like God to “fix” all the sinful situations that surround us in this world, and pluck out all the weeds, but for reasons only God knows, he allows the weeds to grow alongside the wheat. Jesus told us that God the Father “makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Each of us also has weeds in the soil of our own hearts. So what can we do about all these weeds? In our own field, we can focus on faithfully receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation to tame the weeds of our soul. For the weeds in our culture, we can pray, especially for people who sin and cause others to sin—those who are blind to their sinful behaviors. And we can console ourselves by remembering that Our Lord says that one day there will be no more evil, sinfulness, or unfairness. “She [the Church] will not be wounded any longer by sin, stains, self-love, that destroy or wound the earthly community. The beatific vision, in which God opens himself in an inexhaustible way to the elect, will be the ever-flowing well-spring of happiness, peace, and mutual communion” (CCC 1045).
- Children of the Kingdom: It can be easy to lose our peace when we think about all the sinful behaviors and outright evil happening in our society today. Trusting that God has a plan for all of his creatures can give us the ability to react peacefully to the weeds we see. We can focus on being “children of the kingdom” by doing God’s will and working to spread Christ’s Kingdom here and now. We practice the virtue of prudence when we mind our own business and remain focused on cultivating our own “good soil” (Mark 4:8).
- Intentional Plantings: Any gardener will tell you that rich, loamy soil is not immune to weeds. In fact, some pretty hearty weeds can grow in good soil if left to take root! The best defense against weeds are intentional plantings. Whatever weeds–sins and vices–we pluck out should be replaced by their opposite virtues. We can ask God to plant new virtues in our hearts, especially after Confession. Those virtues may start out like tiny mustard seeds, but God can use even a tiny speck of faith to grow them into a beautiful reality. With our tending, watering, and pruning, the virtues we strive to cultivate can become fruitful, just as the mustard plant was, filled with the birds of the sky.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, you are justice and mercy. Please remove the weeds in my heart and cultivate it so that I might be fruitful. Help me to avoid being judgmental of people who are caught in sinful behavior. Instead help me to pray for them and charitably admonish them to bring them back to the life of grace, if I feel called by the Holy Spirit to do so.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will consider what weeds are growing in the soil of my heart and offer them to you in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Written by Carey Boyzuck.