Tuesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Today’s Gospel is Jesus’ explanation of the parable of the weeds and the wheat that we heard a little over a week ago on Sunday.  Of course, if you heard the short version that Sunday, you missed the explanation of the parable.

Jesus explained that he is the sower of the good seed.  The devil is the one who sows the weeds.  Those weeds are the children of the Evil One.

Jesus says that the weeds should be left for harvest.  Then, the harvesters will collect the weeds and throw them into the furnace.  He is explicit in saying that they will “collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evil doers.”

So often, we want to uproot all evil out of this world.  Yet, Jesus tells us that the harvesters are not us.  The harvesters are angels.  It is not up to us to root all evil from this world. 

It is up to us to proclaim the kingdom of God.  To share the Gospel with others.  It is up to us to live a life of Christian witness.  We must live out the Greatest Commandment.  We must live out Matthew 25 (“whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me”) by doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy for those most in need.

But it is not our job to uproot all the weeds. 

That is a difficult message for many of us.  Why does Jesus want this to wait?  He says that some of the wheat might be damaged.  The servants want to immediately uproot the weeds.  But Jesus counsels prudence and patience in the face of evil.  He wants to preserve life.  Even the life of those who do evil.  Until the end.  Until the harvest.

The other question is whether the servants correctly identified the weeds in the first place.  How do they know?  God is the one who knows.  God is the only one capable of making that judgement accurately.  If we read it too literally, we also see this parable excluding the possibility of conversion.  We know that is not the reality of our world.

Are we able to practice prudence and patience in the face of evil?  Do we allow for the possibility of conversion in others?  Can we be disciplined in following our own calling, or do we want to jump over to uproot some weeds?