Weed It and Reap (Sixteenth Ordinary)

Jesus continued, “The farmhands asked, ‘Should we weed out the thistles?’ He said, ‘No, if you weed the thistles, you’ll pull up the wheat, too. Let them grow together until harvest time. Then I’ll instruct the harvesters to pull up the thistles and tie them in bundles for the fire, then gather the wheat and put it in the shed’”. (Matthew 13: 28 – 30)

My wife and I were young and naïve when we bought our first house. We moved into it in early spring, and soon discovered that the woman who owned the house before us had been a wonderful gardener. Each new day of spring seemed to reveal another flower, plant, or shrub coming to life.

Luckily, the neighbours living on either side of our house were patient with us. These elderly couples were themselves great gardeners and, after watching us mishandle the garden chores for a while, began to offer gentle advice and instruction. My favourite memory is the day Olga leaned over the fence and said with a kind smile, “You know, that tall plant you keep watering every day? That one’s a weed”. And not only was I feeding the weeds, I was also yanking plants that, if they had been left to grow, would have blossomed into brilliant flowers.

This week’s gospel talks about weeds and wheat and how to handle them. We all need spiritual neighbours who have learned a thing or two about the weeds and the wheat and how they crop up in our lives. Listen to the people who know. Cultivate sources of wisdom in your life – the sacraments, good spiritual reading, daily prayer – and pay attention to them. Because life isn’t just a bed of roses.

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