WHEAT AND WEED
Several years ago, a man got so disgusted with the large scale of evils in the world that he put up a popular car sticker which read: “stop the world; I want to get off”. We know all is not right in the world.
It looks like only evil has enough oil for every wheel. We shouldn’t be surprised at the presence of evil in the world. As long as human nature is what it is, tainted by sin, let us not search for a perfect society or a perfect family or perfect anything. Do not look for a perfect church either, because the church is not only a training ground for saints, but it is also a haven for sinners and the inadequate. Because evil has become a necessary part of the universe. A perfect humanity never existed and will never exist. Good and bad like wheat and weed will always coexist. If so, what is our response? I think the readings today have some guidance.
Today we hear Jesus’ parables from Mathew. Jesus uses imagery familiar to his audience. Today’s three parables are about gardening and baking. The gardener finds weeds among crops and suspects the work of an enemy. He decides not to destroy the whole garden but wait until harvest to sort things out. Tiny mustard seed grows into a great sheltering tree. And a woman bakes bread with a little yeast. If Jesus was preaching to us today how would he challenge us? Let us use these parables to challenge ourselves today as we listen, considering our problems and Christians struggling to witness in a largely secular world. Perhaps Jesus might want us to imitate a football coach training a little boy patiently to score.
One of responses as the gospel tell us, is to be patient. In the parable of the sower, when the servants ask their master whether they should go and root out the weeds, the lord says, no, because they might damage the wheat as well. This is a call to be patient.
There is lovely proverb “one moment of patience may ward off great disaster, one moment of impatience may ruin the whole life”.
Patient God works with our sinfulness, our messiness of our world. God doesn’t want to shut the sinners out. But invites them to grow and repent, like the farmer tolerating the weeds until the harvest. So, the kingdom is powerful like the small mustard seed, grows into big tree. Perhaps it is like babies who are tiny but great potential grow.
Jesus message is, no matter what obstacles we face, no matter how small our efforts as Christian seem, the kingdom of heaven will flourish.
So, we are invited to pray and hope that the evil forces of darkness may not overpower humanity.
Secondly from this parable, in the Gospel today Jesus speaks to us, individually challenging us.
Jesus is telling us that not a single one of us is really perfect, that we too are mixtures of good and not so good. And so, one cannot expect all wheat with no weeds in another’s character in the family or society. For example, no children can expect absolute perfection from their parents, and vice versa.
Jesus, however, did not say that things should always stay the way they are. No, he speaks of growth, and therefore about change, and about the power to change which God puts in the wheat that God has sown. So, through the power of God a person who is lost and confused can find meaning and purpose.
In fact, let us not allow to let the weeds in us choke the wheat in us. We are to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. And yet despite all our best efforts, the reality remains that both we and they will remain a mixture of wheat and weeds. So, we must trust that God hasn’t finished his work.
Let us pray for the amazing grace of God, during the rest of our Eucharist together, not only for ourselves but also for one another, that we might accept the things we cannot change, and change the things we can. – Fr. Jenish