17th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday

In order to understand the parable being explained in today’s Gospel (the parable is presented in Matthew 13:24–30, just after the parable of the sower), of weeds being sown by an enemy among someone’s wheat crop, it’s important to understand that a certain kind of weed, the bearded darnel, looked very similar to the wheat sown in the time of Our Lord in Palestine and could be mistaken for wheat. Therefore the man in the parable decides to wait until harvest time to separate them when it’s more easy to distinguish them.

With the parable of the sower that we considered a few days ago we saw some potential obstacles to God’s word bearing fruit in our lives. If we let his word take root in us, we become those wheat stalks in today’s parable that grow and bear fruit. Sadly the Devil, the fallen angels who rebelled with him, and sinful people tempt and corrupt others, and those who succumb to it are like the weeds explained in today’s parable: they grow by feeding off of others and choking those trying to grow around them, and, in the end, their lives are fruitless. Perhaps some of them don’t even realize until the end that they’ve lived their lives as weeds, not as wheat, and some evils can appear to be good. Our Lord teaches us today that evil is present and active in the world, sometimes not easily detected, and it will not be definitively overcome until he returns in glory. In the meanwhile, we must persevere in hope and virtue and not become discouraged when it seems evil is widespread and winning.

Let’s pray today for the conversion of all those “weeds” in the world today, for the courage to persevere in the face of evil, and for the wisdom to tell between the weeds and the wheat in our world.

Readings: Exodus 33:7–11, 34:5b–9, 28; Psalm 103:6–13; Matthew 13:36–43.