Weeds among the wheat

The WORD in Other Words by Fr Jose Suson SVD (Philippines)

Tuesday Week 17 Ordinary Time, Ex 33:7-11; 34:5b-9, 28, Mt 13:36-43

Today, the Church remembers its hero, St. Peter Chrysologus, called “Chrysologus”   (golden—worded) for his exceptional oratorical eloquence, his many corporal and   spiritual works of mercy, and his shepherding his flock with utmost diligence and care (Catholic Online).   

The Gospel tells us about Jesus as a teacher explaining in private the parable of the weeds to his disciples. Matthew used the Greek term zizania to refer to the genus of wild rice grasses known as darnel or cockle. It is a harmful weed that closely resembles  wheat and is abundant in Israel. The darnel and real wheat can be distinguished only when these plants mature and their ears appear. Wheat has heavy droopy ears, while the darnel‘s stand up straight. 

A farmer or his servant will notice the weeds and may  question the quality of the seed and may be eager to root out those nasty weeds. But the master cautions his servants against gathering the weeds lest the wheat also gets   uprooted. Wisely, he orders them to allow both weeds and wheat to grow together until the harvest. Only then would the reapers be more certain about collecting and burning the weeds and gathering the wheat into his barn. Jesus’ parable makes clear that any attempt to root out the weeds will only do more damage to the crop.   

The parable clearly applies to the kingdom of God. Jesus addressed his word to us all, saints and sinners alike. Some are determined to root out anyone who does not conform with the correct interpretation of the Scripture, the proper liturgical practice, or a stand on a particular issue. The parable has a lesson for us to learn before we are   tempted to do the same. 


Spiritual and Religious book from Logos Publications available online

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