Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds saying: “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.”
Bountiful harvest. In the Gospel, Jesus not only proposes the parable of the weeds and wheat (vv 24-30); He also explains the various details contained in the parable (vv 36-43).
In their early stages of growth, darnel and wheat look very similar and are not easily distinguishable. People around Jesus clamor to pull up right away the darnel of the world and to retain only the wheat in God’s farm. Jesus decides against rash judgment and merciless action and proposes instead to give sinners the chance to be converted. He teaches us to be tolerant and patient towards others’ misdeeds, thereby inviting us also towards self-introspection instead of pointing accusing fingers at others.
There is widespread belief among the Jews that when the Messiah comes, all the wicked people will be burnt up by fire from heaven. Even John the Baptist, the Lord’s herald, supports this view: “His winnowing fan is in His hand. He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire” (Mt 3:12). Some contemporaries of Jesus wonder why He does not “sanitize” the world, get rid of tax collectors and sinners, and associate only with the pure and the holy. The Essenes at Qumran have this goal in life. The Pharisees are the so-called separated ones; they keep distance from sinners for fear of uncleanness.
Not afraid of any kind of contamination, Jesus does not speak of “fire” meant to burn sinners. Rather, He welcomes them to His circle. He reaches out to them and makes them experience His mercy and forgiveness.
We cannot do anything less than follow Jesus’ patience and tolerance towards our neighbors and ourselves.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2017,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.
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