Gospel Mt 13:24-30
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, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.
The slaves of the householder came to him and said,
‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?
Where have the weeds come from?’
He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’
His slaves said to him, ‘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 I will say to the harvesters,
‘First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn.'”
Jesus has a whole lot of Parables that relate to agriculture, and depending on the gospel author they have slight variations. Here is Matthews version of a wheat field mixed with weeds. Since most of these parables were set as part of a storytelling tradition only part of the story is written; the other part is the reaction of the audience listening to the story being told. When the story was told to field hands, what do you think their reaction was? When the man sows the field of wheat and then hear that weeds are present, do you think they found that to be shocking? When the workers in that field question the quality of the seed, do you think the workers of the storytellers(Jesus) audience might have done the same? Might there have been just a hint of sarcasm when they asked where the weeds came from? When the man said “an enemy has done this !” do you think the audience laughed?
Many of the original audience for this story and others like it likely had first hand knowledge of this type of situation. They likely witnessed it many times in their daily lives.. They knew that even if good seed was sown, weeds were always a possibility. They were a constant part of their life and they were an enemy. Weeds were an enemy because they constantly had to keep guard about them, and they had to spend much effort in their lives minimizing their presence. To a farm hands dismay, even with all of that effort the weeds still popped up; they were never fully eradicated. To Jesus their daily life as field hands described what the Kingdom of God required. It required work, vigilance, and persistence. Just as the field needed constant attention to control the weeds, Gods Kingdom required that same persistence in dealing with sins in their daily life. Just as weeds are never truly eradicated in the field, temptation always lurks in Gods Kingdom. Just as at the harvest time a farmer tries to save the best of the crop in his barn for the next planting; a few weeds will be in their too.The same is true in the passing down of Gods Kingdom from one generation to the next: even with the most faithful adherence to tradition and the most accurate interpretation of this kingdom, a few mistakes will be made.