Mt 13:24-30 Weeds and Wheat Part II
“Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds… ‘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…The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, 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.”
There is a weed in Israel called “darnel” that resembles wheat in the early stages of its growth. Only when it fully matures can it be distinguished and separated from wheat. Back in the day, this parable was very practical and must have been well understood. I am not sure if my parish priest back in New York was aware of it. One day he asked me to do just the opposite of the householder in the parable.
I don’t remember all the details but I do remember getting caught saying some choice words to another student. Our parish priest heard the whole thing and immediately intervened. He asked me to step outside with him and take a walk. Although I had belonged to this parish all my life I had never really taken the time to know our priest. I was about twelve years old and full of myself! I was a 60’s baby boomer and a fully fledged believer in “Mr. Roger’s” hypnotic voice. From him I received free counseling as he sang his now famous “you’re special” song at the end of his weekly brain washing session. It all worked. I can honestly say I felt self-entitled. I might be exaggerating a bit, but that’s exactly what a twelve year old does with a little knowledge!
The priest took me outside and asked me if I had a problem with cussing. I told him I didn’t think so. Actually, I didn’t think cussing was a sin either. Anyways, during our one-sided conversation, he asked me to pull out a weed that was in front of him. I thought to myself, “Oh no, I’m going to have to pull out every single weed from his garden.” Well, I did what he asked and proceeded, I pulled the weed out successfully and proceeded to leave. He called out, “That was pretty easy right?” I stopped, turned around and said, “I guess.” Then he asked me to do something very bizarre. He stood near a tree and asked me to pull out the tree. I looked at him and thought he was crazy! No one could pull out that tree! Nothing could pull out this enormous tree. I told him, “I can’t.” He then gave me the greatest advice I have ever heard. “Exactly, you see when you start having a little problem; the best thing to do is to pull it out immediately, before it gets too big and too hard to pull out. That’s why the best thing to do is to pull out a bad habit while it is still small. Otherwise, it will only deepen and become impossible to uproot.”
Great advice! It might appear to some to be contrary to what Jesus speaks of in the parable but it is not. Today, I understand better than ever what the Lord was seeking and what my priest was saying. When someone looks at a child, a young soul, they could easily make the mistake and think of them as darnel - when in reality they are not. Let it be. Let it grow. Let us wait.
For this reason we are patient, but not idle. We can continue to fertilize the ground with tons of virtues (not manure), and we shall see great results.
The Lord continues to cultivate, even today. He does not condemn, not even today.