In today’s Gospel reading, we hear another parable from Jesus. This parable has to do with an enemy of a landowner sowing weeds among the landowner’s wheat. The landowner’s servants ask him if they should pull up the weeds, but the landowner tells them to wait until harvest time to separate the weeds from the wheat. In the parable the good seeds are understood as the "children of the kingdom," while the bad seeds are the "children of the evil one." Harvest time is the time of judgment, and what happens to the weeds and the wheat is self-explanatory.
The parable sets a choice before us. Do we want to be "weeds" or "wheat?" The remarkable thing about our relationship to God is that, even though we may act like "weeds" at times in our lives, we don’t have to remain so! God has the power to change us from "weeds" to "wheat!" He also shows us leniency in giving us one opportunity after another to put ourselves into His hands so that we can do His will!
To choose to be "wheat" has implications for how we treat one another. Often our temptation is to ask the same question that the servants asked after they discovered the weeds in the field: "Do you want us to go pull them up?" Sometimes we are all too willing to help God when it comes to separating the "weeds" from the "wheat." Often we point to those on the other side of an issue or group of issues, or those on the other side of some segregation (albeit unwritten and unspoken), and declare that they are "weeds’ to be thrown into the fire. It is not up to us to decide the judgment of another. That is up to God. Instead, we are called to be open to whatever "weeding" needs to be done with us, so that we can bear better fruit. God can and will do what needs to be done in us and through us. We need to choose whether we are at His disposal or not.
Fr. Phil Paxton, C.P. is the director of St. Paul of the Cross Retreat and Conference Center, Detroit, Michigan.