16th Sun A
Christian conversion is promoted by conversation. This section is a response to and a development on the knowledge gained from the commentary section.
This Sunday's Exposition
As someone who comes from a long line of small acreage farmers, my initial sentiments are with the owner’s servants. These were the people who did the actual work of the farm and they would have taken a great deal of pride in their work. Real farmers do not put up with weeds and they develop ways of weeding, in even the most difficult circumstances. As a gardener, I also know that the sooner weeds are dealt with the better. I only have to look out my window to see the sorry state of a garden bed that I failed to weed when the offending plants were small.
The landowner in the parable takes a different view and his decision to let the weeds stay could well have shocked the first hearers of Jesus’ parable. The landowner knows he has the means to deal with the weeds at the end of the growing season and he has serious concerns that uprooting the weeds will harm the wheat. Therefore he takes a different, longer view of the problem.
When we draw lines from this parable to the practice of our faith, we are given a very serious challenge. As religious people, we strive to be good and to eradicate evil from our lives. We have an innate tendency to want things to be clear, black and white. We want to know who is acceptable and who is not. In fact, one of the recurring heresies of the Church is to try to clearly define who is a good Christian and who is not.
Jesus takes a very different stance on this problem. Firstly, he teaches that judging who is good and who is evil is God’s problem and God will deal with it in God’s own time….and that is a lot longer than we want. Secondly, what looks bad to us may well turn out to work for good in the long run. One of the signs of maturity is the ability to recognise that God can use people’s liabilities as the place where grace flourishes. Thirdly, in the life of the Kingdom of God, we often have to accept that we simply do not know what God is doing in our lives and the lives of those around us. We often journey blind, simply having to trust in the guidance that God gives for the present time.