Wheat and Weeds
Many biblical scholars agree that the weed mentioned in this parable is darnel. Darnel is a wheat look-a-like that is highly toxic and only distinguishable from wheat at the time of harvest. So when they realized their was weeds why didn’t they pull them out? They didn’t pull it out because it looked exactly like wheat and they did not want to risk pulling out the wheat. So they let them live together to eventually be able to totally distinguish the two properly.
Living in the time that Jesus spoke this parable, most people made their living on the farm. People were familiar with the agricultural world and how dependent farmers were on their crops yield. In light of this fundamental fact, we can see how devastating planting these weeds were since they had the potential of ruining the entire crop and in return ruining the income for the family. But the wise sower, he did not request the weeds be plucked up, because he did not want his crop to be ruined. Instead he turns it into a positive. He collects the wheat to be stored for food, and the weeds to be turned to fuel. Thus, not allowing the evil that was done, ruin his crop, his lively hood.
All around us, I am sure, we can find example of wheat and weeds living and thriving together. Firstly, maybe in ourselves. How often to we think that the darnel defines the entire field? How often do we allow the darnel of our lives from taking over, and blocking us more from Christ? Our sins, the darnel, do not define the truth of our heart nor does it stop the forgiveness of Christ to come and pluck the darnel from us. For God, is a loving God, he is a merciful God, an understanding God, who will “judge with mildness” as described in Wisdom 12: 18, the first reading. He is a God, who will pluck away the darnel of our hearts to make the wheat produce more bountifully. The goal for us is firstly not to prejudge ourselves and our own darnel, and secondly to continue to strive and cleave closer to Christ, embracing in his love, and asking for forgiveness. By being showered in the love and forgivness of Christ, we continually show that the darnel of our lives is not the most important, but that Christ is. We must allow Christ to continue to work within us, and allow him to judge us accordingly. For he is the judge, not us.
Again, we can have the darnel and the wheat in our parishes. The people that we see sitting behind us that do not look like they are praying hard enough, the people that do not follow every rule to the T, the person across from us with the peculiar haircut, or the person behind us that has hurt us before, are all definitely weeds… right? That is not up to us to decide or to judge. In fact the judgement we pass upon our brothers and sisters in the parish community is harsh and risks damaging the welcoming community every parish should be. The judgement creates almost an eliteism and can create a divide between the parish. The judgement we may pass about someones religiosity and faithfulness is unfounded and only cause damage. For every single person we come across in our life has walked a different journey than our own and it can be easy to forget that. God, has accompanied them every step of the way, and knows fully their heart. We cannot be God, and pull out the darnel from the parish, or our lives. We cannot judge those who belong to the family of God. For those people whom we judge may in fact be great wheat, disguised in a form that does not meet our expectation of a perfect wheat.
“A Church which is family is also able to show the closeness and love of a father … a Church of children who see themselves as brothers and sisters, will never end up considering anyone simply as a burden, a problem, an expense, a concern or a risk. Other persons are essentially a gift, and always remain so, even when they walk different paths. The Church is an open house, far from outward pomp, hospitable in the simplicity of her members. “
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