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.” ( Matthew 13:36-43)
If you garden, you know how insidious weeds are. At the beginning, one can’t tell the difference between a weed and a plant. They grow side by side with the emerging plants and it’s not until they are almost fully grown before you can tell they are weeds. But when you pull them up, the roots of the weed are often intertwined with the new plants. So, a person has to be very careful about weeding.
This parable is all about weeding, It’s the weeds of our daily life sown by the evil one that can lead us astray. Often, they are not immediately visible. Often, they have grown too much before they are discovered.
Evil seldom comes to us in its true form. Peace is a genuine good. To live in harmony with the people around us, to get along with the people that we know and love is a blessing. But when the desire to keep the peace leads us to be dishonest with our spouse, when the desire to go along with the group prevents us from telling our friends that they are wrong to abuse drugs or alcohol, peace becomes merely a garb to cover something harmful. The devil is pleased to use peace so that we might enable others to fall.
Service is at the heart of the gospel. To give of ourselves, to sacrifice our desires for the sake of another, is following the very example of Christ. But when others use our generosity to manipulate us, when our giving is used to abuse or hurt us, it is no longer a good. The devil rejoices to use our desire to give as a way to enslave us. That is why we must draw boundaries to protect ourselves.
Love is Jesus’ greatest commandment. The love of our family and friends is a profound good. But love of the people close to us can be used to diminish those who are different from us. The devil delights in using the love of our family and friends or the love of our country to lessen and denigrate others.
The devil continues to crawl along and spread evil in our world. His final defeat will not occur until Jesus returns and destroys every evil forever. Until that day, our job is to take up Jesus’ mission, to fight with him against the evil that surrounds us, to undermine the power of evil in our world.
Sometimes we imagine that being a Christian is merely about knowing the Creed, coming to church, avoiding sin. These are all good things. But at the heart of discipleship is the commitment to join in Jesus’ mission, to take up arms against evil – wherever we find it.
On the last day, we will be called before the Lord to give an accounting of our life. If we come before him and say, “You know, I have said my prayers and I have tried to be as holy a person as I could be.” Jesus will say “Good. But what have you contributed to the destruction of evil? How have you fought at my side against those things that are against God’s will? Have you attacked prejudice or have you increased it? Have you attacked those things that are contrary to God’s will? Have you opposed injustice or have you tolerated it? Have you eschewed violence or have you fed it?” And it will be a bad day for us if that last day is the first time, we ever realized that this is what Jesus has asked us to do.
Being a disciple of Jesus is taking up the battle against evil. It is more than avoiding sin. It is helping to create a new world. Following Christ is more than keeping ourselves pure. It is standing with Christ, facing the devil in the eye and saying, “Your power stops with me.”
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, may your all-consuming love rule in my heart and transform my life that I may sow what is good, worthy, and pleasing to you.”
Jesus’ parable teaches us patience lest we judge before the time is right. Jesus also warns that there is an enemy who seeks to destroy the good seed of his word before it can bear fruit. Both good and evil can be sown in our hearts like tiny seeds which germinate, and in due time yield a harvest of good or bad fruit. We must stand guard lest evil take root in our hearts and corrupt us.
In the day of judgment each of us will reap what he or she has sown in this life. Those who sow good will shine in the kingdom of their Father. They will radiate with the beauty, joy, and fullness of God’s love. Do you allow the love of Jesus Christ to rule in your heart, thoughts, and actions?