16th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2023
For three years I was the assistant priest at St. Peter’s Church in Lowville. The pastor, Fr. Tim Soucy had a wonderful garden, and we would pick fresh vegetables for our meals.
One late summer afternoon, I picked what I thought was arugula and added it to a tomato soup. As we sat down for dinner and tasted the soup, Fr. Tim said it was delicious. However, he was surprised by the green leaves in the soup and asked me about them.
I confidently said it was arugula, but to my surprise, he informed me there was no more arugula in the garden. "These are weeds!" he exclaimed. But, without another complaint, he finished the soup, commenting again how delicious it was.
Even in a soup, it seems, it can be hard to tell the difference between arugula and weeds!
The Gospel today speaks of a similar confusion. Jesus tells the parable of the wheat and the weeds. A man sows good seed in his field, but an enemy sows weeds among the wheat. When the wheat sprouts and forms heads, so do the weeds. The man's servants ask if they should pull out the weeds, but the man instructs them to let both grow until the harvest, to avoid uprooting the wheat with the weeds.
The parable teaches us that we should not try to eliminate evil from the world on our own. We can only do so with the help of God.
We must trust that God will ultimately triumph over evil, and that in the end, the good will be rewarded and the evil will be punished.
In the meantime, we are called to live our lives in accordance with the will of God. We are called to love our enemies, to forgive those who have wronged us, and to do good to those who hate us. We are called to be salt and light in the world, to make a difference in the lives of others.
In life, we often encounter situations where it's hard to differentiate between the wheat and the weeds, just like my culinary adventure with Fr. Tim. It requires patience, understanding, and mercy. We must allow situations to unfold and people to grow at their own pace. We need to show understanding before rushing to judgment and demonstrate mercy, offering compassion and forgiveness.
The parable of the wheat and the weeds is not just about good and evil in the world; it's about the patience of God, who allows us time to grow and to change, to turn from being weeds to becoming wheat.
Remember, it's not our job to pull out the weeds. Our role is to sow the good seed, to nurture, and to love, trusting in God's judgment and perfect timing.
Just as Fr. Tim enjoyed a soup unknowingly filled with weeds, we must learn to recognize and appreciate the unexpected ways God's grace can work in our lives and in the world around us.