The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew 13:24-43
24He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ 28He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” 31He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” 33He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” 34Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. 35This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.” 36Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen! The Gospel of Christ.
The Wheat and the Weeds – A Homily by Mother Beth
I read a story online recently about a woman who had cancelled her wedding and she was told by the hotel (where the reception was to be held) that she would be unable to get a refund on her deposit because it was too close to the date and the food was already purchased. The woman and her fiancé decided that they did not want the money or the food to go to waste. So the woman decided that she would host a party for all of the homeless people in the neighbourhood. She would go ahead with the party. I mention this story because when I heard it, it made me think of the kind of story Jesus might tell. The kingdom of God is like a man who invited his friends to a banquet… So my first question for you today is “Do you see images or pictures of what God is doing or wants to do when you look around the community?” Are there life-giving things happening around you that remind and encourage you to be about kingdom business. I pray that God would open my eyes more and more to the things around me – the places where He is working to show us what His kingdom is really like.
We hear about three images or parables that Jesus told in the Gospel of Matthew today. And as an overall message of the whole passage I would say that the images of wheat, seeds and yeast that Jesus uses in this passage to create a picture of the kingdom seem to speak at least one common idea. The spreading and Growth of the kingdom is happening – slow and steady – we should be patient and keep on keeping on.
In the first parable about the wheat and the tares, we hear that “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away.” When the slaves noticed that there were weeds growing then they came and asked, Master did you not sow good seed in the field? =
How many times in your life have you wanted to ask God if he has sown good seed in the field? You look around at the way things are going – in the world – in the nation – in your community – in your life. And you think – Really? Is this what it is supposed to be like? Is this what God intends to have happen? Well yes and no.
Yes God has sown the good seed and there are good things growing and no not all the things that are happening around us are the result of that seed. The master explains to the slaves that the enemy has also sown seed – some of the stuff around us and some of the things that are happening are a result of the enemy’s seed.
And so the slaves say, as we might, shouldn’t we pull out all the weeds – shouldn’t we get rid of all the bad stuff??? Wouldn’t we love to live a world where everything was ordered and went according to our plan? Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone did as we do and thought like we think?
But the Master responds explaining; the wheat and the weeds are growing together and if you pull out the weeds you will disturb and destroy some of the wheat.
If any of you are gardeners you will have realized that sometimes weeds look like the plants –they grow near – they masquerade as it were. What you see is not always what you get.
There are weeds that are fake versions of plants. Unless you are a very adept gardener, how do you know the difference? Well you don’t – until it comes to bearing fruit you can’t tell which is the weed and which is the plant. We are known by our fruit.
Matt 7:16 “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”
Don’t worry that you will not be recognized by God – the fruit that you bear will be obvious to God and to others. God knows the difference between wheat and weeds and He is the one that matters.
This can be difficult for us because we want to stand out – we want to be recognized – we want to be affirmed. Well, let it become obvious – not in an obnoxious way – not in waving a banner about how great you are – or calling attention to yourself but by bearing good fruit. What is the fruit that we are called to bear… the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
God is the one who decides who is “in” and who is “out” not us
I recently read a little saying…
“While I was busy judging others, I left the closet door open and a bunch of skeletons fell out.”
Our temptation often, is to look around and to try make sense of things by sorting people into categories. But, what if we stopped trying to figure out who is “in”and who is “out” and loved everyone? What if we spoke hope and peace to everyone? What if we actually took God at his word when he told us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbour ‘as yourself”? What impact might that have? How would things change for us and for our community?
In looking back at the picture that Jesus gives us of wheat and weeds, we know that weeds don’t become wheat so the analogy stops there. But we do know that we are new creatures through Jesus Christ and we know that God wants to transform others as well.
So can the people around us – even those that look like weeds to us – can they be transformed into new creatures? Isn’t that how we got to be part of the kingdom of God – someone, maybe many someone’s did not give up on us! They loved us. They prayed for us. They spoke words of hope and encouragement to us.
Let us keep doing the kingdom work and trust God to sort out the rest. The great news that we hear in the gospel this morning is that God is responsible for what happens on the day of judgment. It is not my responsibility or your responsibility to determine the outcome of each other’s lives. We can trust that the master has planted good seed in the field and that he knows the difference between wheat and weeds. In the meantime, we are called to bear fruit. We are called to be evidence of the good seed and in so doing to have an impact on the field, the family, the community, the nation where we are planted. Amen.