Here’s the audio for my homily:
In his parables Jesus often presents God as a human being doing things human beings do. He’s a sower sowing seed, an owner of a vineyard with people working for him, a father dealing with a wayward son, a shepherd caring for his sheep, a king whose son has been killed.
The stories bring God into everyday life, where he interacts with people and shares their cares and concerns. Like Jesus, his Son, God enters into the joys and problems of human life in this world.
In the parable we read today, God is a farmer who has sown seed in his field, but afterwards an enemy comes and sows bad seed among the good. Weeds grow up with the wheat. God, as the farmer, faces one of the great problems we all face–the problem of evil.
Why would anyone want to destroy a good field someone else has planted: revenge, jealousy, envy, or just reckless disregard for what’s good? A further question is: what do you do about this?
The farmer’s servants react with fear when they discover weeds growing up with the wheat.. “Do you want us to go out and pull the weeds up? “ The farmer tells them to let the wheat and the weeds grow till the harvest. Then they can be separated; the wheat gathered in barns and the weeds burned and destroyed.
A lesson to draw from this parable is “Don’t be afraid of evil.” It’s an important lesson. Certainly we have to recognize evil and fear it, but not get overly frightened by it. God doesn’t according to our parable. Like the farmer who has confidence in his wheat, God has confidence in the good he has put into this world.
His patience allows evil, because he is confident in the power of what’s good. God is not afraid of an imperfect world, and neither should we be afraid of it. God has confidence in the power of the good, and so should we believe in the good that’s there in life.
In parables like the one we read today, God works in our imperfect world. He’s a farmer who has to deal with a enemy; He’s a father who doesn’t have perfect children, a shepherd who has to manage wandering sheep, a king whose subjects are bad enough to kill his only Son.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the parables. He is God present in our world, to care for it, to give it life, to bring it to harvest. He is God’s Wheat, whom we receive to strengthen the wheat God has sown. He is stronger than any evil.