(Wis.12:13,16-19, Ps.86, Rom.8:26-27 & Matt.13:24-43)
The gospel reading of last Sunday, from the thirteenth chapter of St Matthew’s gospel account ushers us into Jesus’ ministry of the proclamation of the kingdom of heaven using parables -earthly stories with heavenly meanings. Having narrated the parable of the sower and its explanations, Jesus goes further this Sunday at to tell us more other parables, viz. that of the wheat and darnel, the mustard seed and the yeast. However, for the purpose of precision and time, our reflection would mainly centre on the parable of the wheat and darnel.
Among the Jews, darnel is a common type of weed and it’s seeds are easily mistaken for the wheat. Hence, the two plants are indistinguishable at the early stage of their growth. Just as maize and spear grass would very much look alike at their very early stage.
In this parable, a land owner planted some good seeds (wheat) in his field but later the enemy sowed in darnel (weeds) in-between the wheat and made off. When the servants of the land owner noticed this anomaly, they demanded permission from their master to weed out the darnel. But to their greatest surprise their master objected and told them to allow the wheat and darnel to grow together until the harvest time when the separation would be done.
In his explanation to this parable Jesus makes us to understand that the good seeds (wheat) are the children of the kingdom while the weeds (darnel) are those who yield to the evil one, the enemy of our eternal life. However, the big question remains; why would God allow the good and the wicked to be thriving together in the same world and in the same society? One would ask. Why wouldn’t God destroy the bad and the wicked out rightly, instead of allowing them to be making life difficult for the virtuous and the good people, like what the weeds do to the wheat in the parable?
Well, our human thoughts are different from God’s. God is wonderfully merciful in a challenging way. He doesn’t delight that we should die in sin, rather that we should repent and live, Ezk. 18:23. Hence, Jesus is by this parable challenging us to drop our common premature judgment and hasty condemnations of others which are contrary to the mercy of God.
On the other hand, the parable of the wheat and darnel highlights the life of each and every one of us. There is something of the ‘wheat’ in each of us and something of the’ weed’ in each of us as well. Should God destroy us because of the weed in us? Or should he give us time so that the ‘weed’ in us can be overtaken by that which is ‘wheat’? Surely, God in his infinite patience does not give up on anyone, he rather gives us time to make a choice of change.
The main lesson of this parable lies on God’s merciful patience, as the Master and the owner of the field, who resists the demands of the servants to weed out the darnel, lest they mistakenly pull out the good seeds with the darnel. God rather desires that, the wheat and the darnel be allowed to grow together until the harvest time when the difference between the two would be quite distinct, then would be the right time to separate them.
Yes, in this parable, it’s obvious that the weeds would never literally change to good seeds no matter how long they are allowed to grow together. However, for us human, to whom this parable is meant, the situation is quite different. We have every potentiality to undergo some inner change and growth. There is possibility of one coming to one’s senses over time and to make a U-turn towards the Father, like the Prodigal son (Lk.15:17) and to re-establish lovely relationship with God.The choice is ours.
Therefore, we should not take for granted God’s merciful patience which this parable portrays, rather, it should move us towards a positive change, to forsake whatever negative in our lives, be it inordinate attachment of any kind or addictions. We also have to give up the spirit of premature judgment and hasty condemnations of others which is contrary to God’s mercy. Again, we also need to develop the patience of God in our lives. The patience to wait for the right time to speak or to act. The patience to wait for God to answer our prayers which can sometimes be obviously frustrating.
In conclusion, the parable makes us to understand that, God’s judgment is not hasty but a must-come-event at the end. On that day the darnel will finally be separated from the wheat, the evil from the good and all will be demanded to give account of how they lived their lives. By then the moment of grace (kairos) allowed for our possible change must have been over.
God doesn’t give up on anyone. We should not give up on others and we should not give up on ourselves either. Therefore, as we still have the graceful time with us today, may we use it accordingly to respond to God’s merciful patience calling us to positive attitudinal change, giving God the first place in your life and allowing His principles and values to determine your daily life decisions and choices.
As you persevere and not give up, I BLESS you today, your entire family, your endeavours and engagements, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.