In the Gospel last week, St. Matthew tried to explain why some people reject Jesus. Today, the Apostle explains how to live with them. Jesus answers the question by saying, “Let them live together. If you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. At harvest time, the harvesters will do their job and separate the weeds from the wheat.” This is something we cannot do. Only God’s wisdom can determine the proper separation.
Neither Jesus nor St. Matthew identify the weeds with a specific group of people. What truly separates humanity is mysterious. None of us truly understands the heart of our enemy. Despite our rush to judge our neighbor, people are more complicated than we can understand. Jesus is saying, “Let them grow together. My disciples will be obvious.”
In the middle of the lesson about the weeds among the wheat, Jesus offers two short parables. They are both about abundance and amplify His lesson about the weeds among the wheat. Jesus is comfortable with the weeds growing with the wheat. Even though their presence among the wheat is annoying, they will cause no harm.
The Kingdom of God and those who are members of it are in motion toward God. God’s Kingdom is as active as “Rapid Rise Yeast” or a “fast growing shrub.” While it expands every day, those who are weeds simply cannot keep up.
In order for yeast to be active, the environment must be just right. Farmers trust nature to provide rain, pollinators, wind, animals, the right mix of soil and sunshine. Both bakers and farmers learn to be patient and work steadily in order to overcome any setbacks.
In terms of living with those who are the weeds in our community. God’s desire is for their conversion, not ejection from the community. Jesus spent much of His time with the sinners, those who were ill and those who were blind to the love of God. He is our model and asks us to understand that even though the weeds may be numerous, we have something beautiful to offer them. Dearest Jesus, Teach me to be generous, To love and serve you as you deserve,
To give and not to count the cost, To fight and not to heed the wounds,
To toil and not to seek for rest, To labor and to look for no reward,
Except that of knowing that I do your Holy Will.