The Final Harvest
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Mt 13:24-30, 36-43*
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like this. A man sowed good seed in his field.
25 One night, when everyone was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.
26 When the plants grew and the ears of corn began to form, then the weeds showed up.
27 The man’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, it was good seed you sowed in your field; where did the weeds come from?’
28 ‘It was some enemy who did this,’ he answered. ‘Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?’ they asked him.
29 ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because as you gather the weeds you might pull up some of the wheat along with them.
30 Let the wheat and the weeds both grow together until harvest. Then I will tell the harvest workers to pull up the weeds first, tie them in bundles and burn them, and then to gather in the wheat and put it in my barn.’ ”
36 When Jesus had left the crowd and gone indoors, his disciples came to him and said, “Tell us what the parable about the weeds in the field means.”
37 Jesus answered, “The man who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man;
38 the field is the world; the good seed is the people who belong to the Kingdom; the weeds are the people who belong to the Evil One;
39 and the enemy who sowed the weeds is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvest workers are angels.
40 Just as the weeds are gathered up and burnt in the fire, so the same thing will happen at the end of the age:
41 the Son of Man will send out his angels to gather up out of his Kingdom all those who cause people to sin and all others who do evil things,
42 and they will throw them into the fiery furnace, where they will cry and grind their teeth.
43 Then God’s people will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Listen, then,
if you have ears!”
*This is a shortened form of today’s reading. The full reading is Matthew 13:24-43.
Other readings: Wisdom 12:13, 16-19; Psalm 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16; Romans 8:26-27
Jesus’s interpretation of this parable is important. The seeds here are not the “word of God” as they were in the last parable about the sower (Matthew 13:1-9). Here Jesus is discussing the Church community, God’s people in the world, although outwardly the two parables appear similar.
Those people who try to live as Jesus directs, he calls “the people who belong to the Kingdom”. Hidden in their midst are “people who belong to the Evil One”. In other words, people who are not obeying God but whose lives are being directed by the Devil. The servants want to root out the weeds immediately but the master tells them to wait until harvest time. Similarly, in the Church we should avoid judging each other. Judgment belongs to “the Son of Man”; he is the only one who knows one seed from another. In the meantime, the good seeds have until harvest time to grow and flourish, even though the “weeds” may hinder the harvest. Jesus refuses to intervene until harvest time; that is, the end days.
There’s a warning here for those who are churchgoers but not actually following Jesus. Each of us must be alert and live our lives in obedience to Jesus. Everyone will have to give an account for their lives on Judgment Day.
What relevance does this parable have to your spiritual life? What can you learn from Jesus’s teaching here? What is your response?
“In the same way the Spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26). We all need God’s help to follow him and this verse encourages us that the Holy Spirit is interceding for us.
Respond to God in prayer. You may wish to pray: “Lord give me the grace to hear your voice calling me to a deeper life of faith.”
Read Psalm 86 and meditate on the greatness and mercy of God.
Lectio Divina is an ancient tradition of reading and engaging with God’s Word
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