A HOMILY FOR THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “A” – 7/20/14 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and Goodness to you this day!
Jesus is talking to us in our Gospel today about weeds. And so I thought we’d spend a little bit of time today talking about pulling weeds. Growing up, especially in the summer time, there was perhaps no more hated chore for my brothers and I than pulling weeds. My parents caught on to this, and so when we would get in trouble, oftentimes in the summertime, our punishment was to get outside and pull weeds from the garden, from the flower beds, from along the fences, from wherever and everywhere that weeds seem to grow. And as most of you know, if there’s the tiniest, little patch of dirt, seemingly a weed can grow there. They can even grow in the cracks of concrete! Now we had a big yard, but thankfully with four boys who were always getting into trouble one way or another, my parents had free weed control. And so, all four of us spent a great deal of time outside in the hot summer sun pulling weeds. It is a miserable job, but one that we all have to do at some point. You get dirty. You get itchy. You get bug bites. You pull the wrong weeds and you can poison ivy or poison oak. It is not a fun job. This is exactly why it made for such a good punishment! And then of course there is also the necessity for being able to tell the difference between the good stuff that is growing and the weeds. One of the quickest ways to lose your job, or get another punishment, was to pull up all of your mother’s favorite flowers with the weeds. The power of a few dead geraniums can never be underestimated. Nobody likes pulling weeds. It is kinda one of those things that you just have to do once in awhile, to keep things under control in our yards. And if you let things too out of control, it not only doesn’t look good, but the weeds take over and will kill the good stuff growing in your yard or garden.
Once again, this weekend, Jesus is talking to us in this parable today about something we all know about: namely pulling weeds and growing things. In the parable, the weeds are seen as much more than just nuisance or an eye sore. The weeds are a threat to the good grain. The weeds are stealing nutrients and water that keep the good grain from growing to its full potential. And the weeds are seen, not just as something that just happened, but instead are seen as the work of an enemy, who deliberately is seeking to harm the owner. We hear this story and suddenly weeds take on a whole new meaning and importance. These weeds in this parable are a problem. And just pulling them up is not the answer.
The owner decides to let the grain and the weeds just grow together, and then plans on separating them at the harvest, so that he doesn’t damage the wheat while it is growing. This wise decision on the part of the farmer, sets up an uncomfortable situation until the harvest comes along. And that is that the wheat and weeds are going to grow side by side, right next to each other. And as they grow, many will think of them as the same. Maybe even the wheat and weeds will start to accept one another as just the way that things are. But then we are reminded of the great separation that is coming, that will restore each to its proper group.
We get this story. We live in a world where there are lots of weeds. They seem to be doing just fine. Sometimes, it may even seem like the weeds are doing better than the wheat. Everything looks so equal. The weeds like to pretend that they are just like the wheat. And maybe the wheat even starts to think, that since they are growing side-by-side, that it really doesn’t matter whether or not you are wheat or weeds. But then we get reminded again of that separation thing, The wheat will be harvest for all the good that it has accomplished. The weeds will be cut down and burnt like trash.
My brothers and sisters, we are the wheat. We are what God has planted in this world from the very beginning of creation. We were meant for goodness and to bear fruit. The weeds are those who have believed the lies of the devil, and who have abandoned God’s ways. There are lots of weeds in the world today. We live right next to them. We work with them. We go to school with them. They are all around us. But they are not us. And we are not them. We are not all the same. We can’t act like weeds. And we can’t let their poison choke us off from God’s love and mercy. This parable then becomes a stark warning for all of us.
Pulling weeds is NOT fun. But ignoring weeds isn’t the answer either. A separation is coming. Decisions must be made. Are we going to be wheat? Or are we going to be weeds? We must decide while we are living together in this world. But the ramifications from our decisions, will have eternal consequences!
+ May God bless us and help us to make good decisions, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN!!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us!!!