Even though Jesus was teaching from a boat he used imagery that was familiar to all who listened. In the planting season the farmers would be in the plowed fields throwing the seed onto the soil. Sometimes the wind would carry the seed to places the farmer didn’t intend. Jesus tells about the fate of seeds that landed in different places – the pathway, on rocky ground, in among the weeds and the good ground soil on which most of the seed fell. The rest was up to Mother Nature – the watered earth bringing forth the seed sprung to life. Jesus is teaching about the different ways people accept and respond to the life and love of God their lives.
I’d like to ask you a question. Where do you see yourself in today’s parable? Well you certainly are not on the pathway nor on the rocky ground, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. You, like me are probably among the weeds trying to survive, trying to live the life to which God calls us, and trying to be as Christ-like as possible. We get caught up in the cares of the world and our energies are focused on family issues, job security issues, career issues, health and aging issues – you name it. We get around to God when these issues become too much for us to handle.
But that is not all that bad. Jesus told another parable about a farmer planting grain and of jealous neighbour sneaking in at night and sowing weeds among the grain. When this was discovered the farmer’s laborers wanted to root out the weeds but the farmed stopped them saying by doing that they might damage the grain. His advice was to let both grow together til the harvest and then they could sort it all out.
The farmer sensed that the grain’s struggle to overcome the weeds could provide a better crop of grain. His advice was wise; let both grow together til the harvest.’ We are all good seed but we find ourselves struggling with weeds in our lives, the cares of the world and our own personal issues with anger or resentment toward others, with our narrow-mindedness toward people of other nationalities, other cultures, other life styles. We find ourselves struggling with being accepting of the ‘different’. But these very struggles that call us to be more Christ like in our relationships with others remind us that we need the grace, the help of God in our lives, remind of the words of Christ, ’without me you can do nothing.’
St. Paul is a great example of a person who struggled with weeds. There was one in particular that plagued him. He referred to it as a ‘thorn in the flesh’ and three times he begged Christ to pluck it out and three times Christ refused. Paul resigned himself to living with this weed saying,’ gladly will glory with this weed that the strength of Christ may dwell in me.’
Our weeds, the cares of our world, won’t go away. They will challenge us all our lives but remember the strength of Christ dwells in us. May we trust the truth that our weeds will help us, with God’s grace, to yield a harvest of a hundred fold.