Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

wheat & weeds.jpg


Matthew 13: 24-43

“Let them both grow till harvest”

Jesus proclaimed that the kingdom, the reign of God in our midst and in our lives, has come. He also insisted that it is still coming - in other words, it is not yet complete. Today's parable of the wheat and darnel illustrates this. Jesus was criticised by the Pharisees for keeping doubtful company, mixing with the unclean, being a friend of tax collectors and sinners. He responded by contrasting their dismissive judgemental attitude with the patience and forbearance of the caring landowner - his Father.

So often the righteous want to draw a line between themselves and those who do not meet their standards. On the assumption that they can know and judge others, they are ready to denounce them, to tear ‘them’ up and root ‘them’ out. They are like the landowner's servants, so obsessed with the darnel that they want to uproot it straight away, without a thought about the harm this would do to the wheat. But the owner sees things the other way round. He sees first a field full of wheat, even if it is growing against a background of darnel. “Encourage the wheat to grow,” he says, “we can deal with the darnel when the wheat has ripened”.

There is plenty of darnel in the world around us, and there is also a lot of good, good that is often overlooked. Alongside the acts of greed, hatred and violence which grab the headlines, are countless unrecorded acts of heroism, generosity and kindness. And as in the world at large, so in the life of the Church, there are both saints and sinners. And further, the reign of God in our own lives is not yet complete; none of us is darnel-free. But God is patient with us and our weaknesses even while encouraging our full growth in his Spirit. He expects of us a similar encouraging patience with others.