How well I have learned that there is no fence to sit on between heaven and hell. There is a deep, wide gulf, a chasm, and in that chasm is no place for any man. - Johnny Cash: (1932 – 2003: was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author.)
Gospel Text: (MT 13:24-43)
Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying:
"The kingdom of heaven may be likened
to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came
and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.
The slaves of the householder came to him and said,
'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.
Let them grow together until harvest;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
"First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn."'"
He proposed another parable to them.
"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds,
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush,
and the 'birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.'"
He spoke to them another parable.
"The kingdom of heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch was leavened."
All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He spoke to them only in parables,
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:
I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation
of the world.
Then, dismissing the crowds, he went into the house.
His disciples approached him and said,
"Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field."
He said in reply, "He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the evil one,
and the enemy who sows them is the devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels,
and they will collect out of his kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun
in the kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear."
We might begin reflecting on this parable by asking a question. Who exactly are the weeds, and who are the wheat? At the end of the long form of today’s Gospel passage, Jesus explains the parable: “the good seed” are “the children of the kingdom”, while the “weeds are the children of the evil one”. But how are we practically to apply this explanation to our own day?
Perhaps another saying from our Lord could help us. “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye” [Luke 6:42]. In other words, in seeking to apply the parable of the weeds and the wheat to the real world of today, each of us ought to begin with the real weeds in one’s own soul. From there each of us could move on to consider the weeds elsewhere in one’s family, parish, country and Church.
Short of the Blessed Virgin Mary, there is no disciple without weeds in his soul. In your case as in mine, then, the parable describes the Christian spiritual life.
Between the day of your baptism and the day of the “harvest” (that is, the day of your death), you are free to cultivate your spiritual life. You are free to break up hard soil of your soul through acts of penance and humility, so that the good seed of your life in Christ will bear abundant fruit even during your earthly days. You must also be patient, like the parable’s householder, who is God our Father. For you are free also to sin in this life: to allow weeds to proliferate in your soul.
God, in His paternal love, does not force anyone to reform his life.