In our Gospel reading for today, Jesus tells a parable about weeds and wheat. An enemy of a landowner has sowed weeds among the wheat of his field. When the owner’s servants ask him if they should pull up the weeds, he answers no, because they might pull up some of the wheat as well. He then says, “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.”
For me, this shows the patience and mercy of God. We do not have to be stuck where we are but become the “wheat” God made us to be. The challenge sometimes is to be honest with ourselves as what kind of “wheat” or “weeds” we happen to be. In our first reading from Jeremiah, God confronts the people of Israel through the prophet: “Reform your ways and your deeds, so that I may remain with you in this place. Put not your trust in the deceitful words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord!’” People were taking God for granted because they figured they were exempt, so to speak, from any moral considerations because they worshiped in the Temple. We can’t presume we are “wheat,” simply because we belong to a certain group of people or a certain faith. Likewise, we can’t presume others are “weeds” simply because they don’t belong.
But if we are truly humble, knowing that we need God’s grace, and grateful that God loves us beyond anything we can deserve or imagine, then we will be open to God removing what leads us to be more like “weeds,” and letting God transform us into “wheat.” And even more, as in the parable the wheat grew up with the weeds, we can help others be healed and transformed by God’s love in Jesus Christ.
May the love of God prevail in our hearts and may no one be thrown away.
Fr. Phil Paxton, C.P., is the local superior of the Passionist Community in Birmingham, Alabama.