Exodus 33:7-11; 34:5b-9, 28
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Jesus dismissed the crowds and 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.”
Good News Reflection: Weeds and flowers in God’s bouquet
Jesus’ explanation about the harvest at the end of time, which is told in our Gospel reading today, raises, in my mind, the question: Why do we have to wait until the end of the world for God to rescue us from evildoers? I want them out of my life — NOW!
Oops, how selfish of me! That would make my life extremely easier, but what about the people who are weeds in my plot of land in the field? What about their lives? What about their eternal lives?
We Christians are nurtured in the garden of God’s love to grow strong and tall, as beautiful flowers, so that we can make the world a prettier place. We have been commissioned by Christ to go into the world with our fragrance, which is the perfume of heaven, to affect the lives of the weedy, so that they, too, will want to convert into flowers for the bouquet of God’s kingdom.
If weeds are yanked out too early (such as when criminals are executed by a death penalty or when we eject troublemakers from our lives), they lose future opportunities for conversion. Then, we who wanted our soils free of their filth will have to explain to God why we didn’t care about their souls.
Oh, and by the way, some weeds are quite ugly, but some are very pretty. We have to learn to recognize the difference between beautiful weeds and true flowers so that we aren’t duped into accepting their sins as okay and end up joining them in their filth. But what is that difference?
A weed is any plant that’s growing where it’s not supposed to be. Grass is a weed in a corn field, but on my lawn, corn would be the weed. A weed-person is anyone who is not committed to being one of God’s beautiful flowers.
My job, as a commissioned Christian — and yours, too — is to help weed-people discover their true beauty and fragrance, i.e., who they are as children of God and how they can grow into beautiful flowers.
Meanwhile, this does not mean allowing their sins to hurt us. We need to figure out, often with professional help, how to prevent their weedy poison from harming us and from spreading. And we have to stay in close contact with God so that we know when it’s time to pluck them out and give others a chance to convert them.
All weeds start out as plants that God made and called “good.” In their rightful place, doing what God designed them to do, they’re not weeds, but by growing in ways that they were not designed to do, they became evil-doers. Weeds are unblossomed flowers who have not discovered their true identities as children of God nor their true calling as servants of God.
Instead of complaining about the evildoers, we should do what we were commissioned and empowered by God to do: Reach out to the weeds and help them discover their inner beauty and awaken their desire to be true flowers in God’s bouquet.
Lord Jesus, make my life an instrument in Your hands so many who are lost may believe and desire to be transformed as the good seed from which You can reap in the end. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica