Commentary on the Gospel of

Molly Mattingly - Creighton University's Campus Ministry and St. John's Parish


On Saturday, we heard the parable of the weeds and the wheat. Then Jesus seemed to say, “Let the weeds grow up with the wheat so as not to harm the wheat.” Today Jesus explains the field as the world and seeds as children, giving the image that a child (a person) is either good or evil, and that evil people fight against good people for resources (or at the very least, make a messy field for good people to live in). Most of us would identify ourselves as the “good seed,” the children of the Kingdom. When we act consciously, most of us act intending good. And, of course, we are children of the Kingdom as baptized members of the Church!

I find this image of all-good and all-evil people difficult, though; it doesn’t bear out in my experience. All except a very few of us in human history are a mix and in flux. What if the field is within one person? Good is planted and growing; harmful inclinations are also sown and growing in different ways. What if the weeds are allowed to grow up alongside the wheat so as not to rip out the good already growing in us? There is a gentleness there towards the goodness growing in us.

I’ve heard this image of wheat and weeds related to discernment. Is this thought wheat - coming from God, leading to greater freedom and love, and worthy of cultivation? Is it a weed – not of God, something I can let go of and stop giving energy to? Does this pattern of behavior or thought cultivate the field for the wheat, or allow the weeds to spread further? This kind of discernment is easiest when we have a close relationship with God, like Moses in the first reading: speaking to God honestly, face to face.

I’m sure Jesus (and Matthew) didn’t intend to make a pun in English at the end of this passage. However, it does strike me that the fruit of wheat is called an “ear,” like corn is. I can picture Jesus smiling as he holds up an ear of wheat to his disciples as he said, “Whoever has ears ought to hear. … If you have wheat growing in you and bearing fruit, you can hear this and respond.”


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