July 23, 2023 - Let Them Grow Together Until Harvest
In the parable of the farmer (sower), Jesus expands our understanding of this new kingdom of God that he inaugurates. He is the farmer who spreads the seed of God’s word all around him. This seed is entrusted to the soil, which symbolizes the crowd gathered around him. Each individual listener will welcome the seed of God’s word and make it fruitful in his own way, depending on the disposition of his heart.
God’s word may appear small and ordinary but should not be discarded because it is potent and alive. A humbly beginning of Jesus and throughout his public ministry alludes to this fact. His initial work can be compared to a mustard seed, one of the smallest of plants. Some ridiculed him and few welcomed him. Today there are people who ridicule the teachings of the Church and even among the followers who selectively pick which doctrine to accept or reject. There are folks who would rather define their own morality and religious practices, even when it contradicts the divine law and Christian tradition. Of what use it is to be Catholic but not practicing. To believe, and yet live as if God does not exist. It seems we are now in a new era of paganism. This makes today’s scripture reading so relevant.
If we welcome the seed and nurture it to grow then would our fruits of good work be a clear sign of the kingdom. The little mustard seed should not be despised because it will become “the largest of plants.” It will shelter “the birds of the sky” in its branches. He seems to be suggesting that all mankind will be able to come together in the branches of his tree, since it will be large enough to shelter everyone. The kingdom may have a modest beginning, but it develops from there. It remains invisible until it has completed its work of transforming the world, but that should not lead us to doubt its existence. As the leaven (yeast) causes dough to rise, so does even thinnest seed of God transform.
Watch out for the trouble. The enemy is still around who secretly plants weed in the field of wheat as the gospel tells us. It is the Devil who prowls around looking for someone to devour. We must resist him. “We cannot ignore the presence of the weed that sometimes threatens to choke the good seed. Where does the Devil come from? Why did God not get rid of evil? How can it be that the world is not good? Why do we lack docility when it comes to the teachings of God? We could ask countless questions of these sorts that deal with the existence of evil and its scandalous, intolerable reality.”
Jesus offers surprising answer to these questions. “Let them grow together until harvest.” The real sorting will be done then, for only then will true discernment and judgment be possible. Until then everything is inextricably mixed up; we cannot root out the weeds without destroying the wheat at the same time. Jesus teaches us lesson on importance of patience and tolerance. How invaluable is this lesson considering the current political and moral divide in our society?
We ought to accept what Jesus is teaching us. We cannot possibly be fully satisfied with what we are and what we do because we are in a continuing process of transformation. We need the Spirit to intercede for us as St. Paul expressed in our second reading. “The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness for we do not know how to pray as we ought.”
Grace and Peace be Yours,
Rev. Vitalis Anyanike