He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well.
And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing.
This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.” Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.”
He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the 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 causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Jesus gives us powerful images of life and growth today: the tiny mustard seed which, when full-grown, becomes quite a larger plant. And the yeast which a mother kneads into a large batch of flour…eventually the whole mass of dough begins to rise. Finally the parable of the weeds and wheat growing side by side until the harvest.
Jesus has a helpful point in this parable of the weeds and wheat: be careful about your judgments. If our human freedom is one of God’s greatest gifts, then we know we are always capable of a change of heart. Actually, isn’t there a bit of the weeds growing alongside some fine wheat in each of our lives? So who are we to judge who might be “good” or “bad” amongst our neighbors and co-workers and family members? The truth is that life’s natural planting and hoeing and manuring and watering will in the end allow God to take good care of the final sorting out.
As we enjoy the summer sunshine with so many family and community activities and events, can you and I hand over the mustard seeds of our lives to God’s loving care? As we believe, so let us live. Happy summer!
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Holy God, it is in you that we live and move and have our being. Each day you show us your overwhelming love. Your gift of the Holy Spirit, dwelling in our hearts and homes, gives us here on earth the hope of unending joy. Give strength to our families, joy to our hearts, this week and always. Amen.