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Weeds Among the Wheat

“... in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them.

Let both of them grow together until harvest…”

Dear Family in Christ,

This Sunday, Jesus uses another parable to unveil some of the great mysteries of our lives. He addresses the mystery of the evil and good that coexist in the world, and the the good and evil that coexist within each of us who feel the devastating impact of original sin. With respect to both, He addresses both the origins and the end toward which they progress.

One of the interesting aspects of this parable lies hidden in the original Greek word that we read as ‘weeds’. This word is zizania, which refers specifically to a type of ryegrass that is virtually identical to wheat until it comes to full maturity. Why is that important?

In this parable, the sower forbids the servants from uprooting the weeds right away, “...for in gathering the weeds, you would uproot the wheat along with them.” I have always assumed that this simply meant that the weeds and wheat grew so closely together that you couldn’t uproot one without damaging the other. But this brief textual analysis reveals another layer: until the harvest, it won’t be clear which plants are weeds and which are wheat. A slave might accidentally pull up wheat and leave the weeds.

The practical application of this is hinted at in the first reading from the book of Wisdom: ‘Though you are sovereign in strength, you judge with mildness, and with great forbearance you govern us; for you have power to act whenever you choose. Through such works you have taught your people that the righteous must be kind; and you have filled your children with good hope, because you give repentance for sins.’

There’s no question that evil exists in the world. We know it, God knows it, but until the Final Judgment He allows it to coexist with the Good. Why? By the grace of God, unlike the weeds we can change. God’s patience is not tolerance of evil, but an expression of His love for us in giving us every chance to repent.

Let us not waste God’s merciful patience. May this Sunday’s Gospel remind us of our need for repentance, and the urgency with which we ought to use whatever time we have to uproot the evil of sin from our own hearts. Get to confession, turn away from sin, and believe in the Gospel.

God love you,

Father Corso

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