THE WHEAT AND
The title of my homily for this 16th Saturday in Ordinary Time is, “The Wheat and Weeds Parable.”
Today’s gospel - Matthew 13: 24-30 - has an intriguing parable from Jesus.
It’s a very difficult parable to put into practice. Jesus calls parables seeds. They slip into our ground and grow and then new life appears or pops up to challenge us in different places and in various ways.
FIRST STEP: GRASP THE PARABLE
Jesus tells about a farmer whose workers planted wheat seeds - but someone - an enemy - planted weeds.
Different commentators on the parable say it might be something that really happened - and Jesus heard about it - and used it as the basis for his parable.
When the crop of wheat and weeds started showing up, the farm hands came to the owner and said what was happening. They asked if they should pull up all the weeds - like right now - like immediately.
The owner of the land says, “No. Do that you might pull up some of the wheat along with the weeds. At harvest time then we can do the separation.”
That’s the parable. Then Jesus asks us: “What’s your take on it?”
SECOND STEP: APPLY THE PARABLE: THE MIND AS A FIELD
Picture the human mind or brain as a field. In it are planted lots of stuff. Sometimes it’s done by an enemy. Sometimes it’s done by ourselves. If we have the TV remote or the computer - we can put all kinds of stuff into our mind. We can also turn off the TV or the Computer or what have you.
Some stuff - some seed - once it’s inside our brain - it’s there and we can’t get it out.
I was in Chartres Cathedral in
France in 1996 with my two sisters
and my brother-in-law. The tour guide said in English: “Don’t look over to our
right - watch your wallets and pocket books - because there are two pickpockets
there.” Well of course, everyone turned
and looked and I saw the two pickpockets quickly duck behind a big pole. Guess
what? The two pickpockets are still in my brain. I see them in many churches.
And they came to mind: as I was putting together this homily.
THIRD STEP: APPLICATION # 2: LET THEM BOTH STAY
The second application is the great challenge from Jesus.
Some people go crazy with weeds in their garden. It’s like the old story of the person who wrote six times to the Dear Mr. Gardener in the local newspaper. Six different times the person wrote for advice. Obviously, the first five suggestions didn’t work, so the sixth suggestion from Dear Mr. Gardener was, “Learn to live with them.”
Some people learn to live with dirt on other people’s glasses and some don’t.
Some people have problems with bugs on other people’s windshields.
Some people go crazy with strings of spaghetti on their dad’s shirt as he eats at the nursing home and some don’t.
Some people can’t stand such and such a priest’s long sermons and some read the bulletin.
Some people don’t like the way so and so dresses for Mass - some people are thinking about last nights ball game.
Some people think so and so is wrong in how they pronounce
Boston or Baltimore
and some don’t mind it when people say “good” when it should be “well”.
Some people complain about who comes to church and who doesn’t - who goes to communion and who doesn’t.
Some of us have lists about ourselves; some have lists about others.
Sometimes we don’t get the remote and we can’t change the channel.
Sometimes we can sit behind poles in church or go to different Masses or check the web site to see who has what Mass or walk down different streets or don’t look - but sometimes those weedy thoughts and comments and scenes appear on our screens and we have to learn to live with them.
In the meanwhile we can enjoy the wheat called Bread - called communion - with Jesus - even though we’re thinking about the weather for this Saturday as we’re walking back to our bench from receiving Communion. Enjoy life. Enjoy the Lord. Don’t step on the weeds.