“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.”
With this parable, Jesus lays out the situation in which we find ourselves in our earthly life. We are surrounded by good and bad influences—people who would lead us to God as well as those who would exploit us, mislead us, or destroy us outright. So how do we judge the weeds from the wheat?
This is a difficult question because, good or bad intentions aside, we are dealing with human persons. Each human person is made in the image and likeness of God and is meant for the Kingdom of Heaven. It is not our job to judge, but to encourage and sanctify. They may give up on us, but we never give up on them. We do not want to rush to judgment for fear of losing good people in the process.
I believe the key to unlocking this parable lies in the two parables that follow. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a small seed that grows to be the largest of bushes, or like a little yeast that raises the whole batch of dough. We who are privileged to enjoy a life of faith in Jesus Christ are called to bring life to the rest of society. We are called to lead others to conversion by our Christian witness—to see the unconverted masses as potential Christians, even if they are currently our actual enemies.
This is the cost of the Christian life: we are called to give our lives in witness to the saving power of Jesus Christ even if this means putting our lives (not our souls) in danger. We must protect our souls from sin, to be sure, but we must also risk contact with a sinful world in order to win souls for Christ. Yeast on its own does not leaven; a seed never planted cannot grow. Christians must be in the world to change the world.
Peace in Christ, Today’s Readings: Wis 12:13, 16-19; Rom 8:26-27