A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 13:24-30
Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds. "The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, 'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?' He answered, 'An enemy has done this.' His slaves said to him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' He replied, 'No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. 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."'"
“While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.”
Way before air-conditioned homes resided in the south, children played outside in the shade. My parents had a beautiful pecan tree behind the house where we played in view of my watchful mother at the kitchen window. We had a bike track under the shade of the tree and a couple of rope-swings which prevented any grass from growing there. The wonderful dirt-filled surface offered a canvas for drawing and building things of dirt, namely authentic mud pies. We played endless hours not only sifting and pouring dirt, but drawing homes in the dirt for our stick families. As we grew older, my father added a “gymnastic” bar for us to flip and swing upside-down on. It was complete with a wooden board underneath for an even landing surface.
One day I decided I was going to practice my gymnastic skills. I ran up to the landing board, which was filled with odds and ends, and quickly cleared it for my landing. As I was swinging mid-air, I noticed a very small board with two nails sticking out of it on the landing. After I landed, I looked for the board with the nails in it and couldn’t find it. That is when my sister started screaming at me. I can only tell this story because, to this day, I did not feel any pain. The board was stuck to my knee and that is the closest I have ever been to having a wooden leg. My father came out of the barn and swept me up in his arms. My mother took the nails out of my knee and I promptly made a trip to town for a tetanus shot, which hurt worse than the accident.
The weeds in the parable are like this wooden board filled with nails. We don’t see the evil at first as we live our life going about our daily routine. When it is too late to avoid it, it can take hold of you before you know it. In a sense, it becomes part of you even though you cannot feel it. Only when we realize the evil one’s presence can we do something about it. We all have to ask God to change our hearts and to forgive sins. We should pray and listen to the Spirit of God to know how to make the change and weed out the evil.
Let us perpetually arm ourselves against the weeds, or the evil one, with prayer. In prayer, we strengthen our faith to endure the weeds and stay faithful to God. Let us remain hopeful that one day we will be gathered by our loving father into His arms and put in a place He has prepared for us.