"Whoever has ears ought to hear."
Today’s gospel gives us both a parable and then an interpretation of that parable. The gospel explains the parable of the weeds among the wheat. Jesus is telling His disciples how the one who sows good seed is the Son of Man, and the one who sows the weeds is the Devil. When the wheat grew, the weeds appeared as well. Jesus had previously indicated that if you uproot the weeds, you might uproot the wheat along with it. So, He concludes by saying, "At the end of the age, the harvesters (angels) will go through and collect the weeds, bind them up and throw them into the furnace." Those who bore good fruit in their life by living as Jesus taught us will be welcomed into Heaven with open arms.
Human beings are complex. We sometimes have a tendency to want to divide people into two categories: saints and sinners. However, people can’t be divided into the good and the bad, as though they were two completely separate classes of people. All of us are a mixture of good and bad, wheat and weeds, as we’ll discover when we take a good honest look into our own field. And we are truly blessed that The Harvester doesn’t uproot the "weeds" as soon as they appear. We get a second chance to live as "wheat".
Some of us might remember in gym class the importance of being chosen to be on the team that was most likely going to win. Obviously, no one wanted to be on the team that would most likely lose, we wanted to be on the team that gave us the best chance for success.
One can think of this as being a parable about a winning team (wheat) and a losing team (weeds). The only difference between our gym class example and the parable is this; we get to choose which team we are on! We can say "yes" to God’s plan and strive to know and accomplish His will in our lives; or we can say "no", and choose to live a life that is selfish and self-centered. We get to choose whether we live as "wheat" or as "weeds."
Today’s parable is both realistic and optimistic. We go to church, not because we are saints, but because we are sinners, sinners who know we are sinners, but who are willing to strive for something better.The main point of this parable is clear: up to the last judgment, the Kingdom will be a mixed bag of good and evil. Our Lord is inviting us to change and today He gives us the opportunity and encouragement to do so. "Whoever has ears ought to hear!"
Deacon Brian Clements is a retired member of the retreat team at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, California