16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
19th July 2020
Year A – Psalter week 4
The Parable of the Wheat and the Darnel
Following on from last Sunday’s parable of the sower, we have another agricultural parable, that of the wheat and the darnel. I understand that darnel is a slightly poisonous weed that looks like wheat, even more so in the earlier stages of growth. When the wheat and the darnel mature fully, they can be distinguished more easily and separated. Jesus explains the meaning of the parable to his disciples as follows: “The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offences and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Listen, anyone who has ears!” (Matthew 13:38-43).
In its most stark form, this parable is about the final separation of those who seek to live under the lordship of Jesus in the kingdom of heaven, and those who prefer to serve the prince of this world and choose the kingdom of darkness. Such a judgement of intentions, motives, life and ultimately of souls, however, belongs to the Lord, who “will light up all that is hidden in the dark and reveal the secret intentions of men’s hearts” (1 Corinthians 4:5).
As with the parable of the sower, however, this parable can also be applied to our own individual lives and hearts. We know that we do not have purely good or evil intentions, but a mix of the two. As St. Paul puts it, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Indeed, while with God’s grace we are capable of good, we also know that when we turn away from the Lord, we are capable of evil too. As Jesus explains, such evil originates within the heart: “For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander” (Matthew 15:19).
It is no wonder then, that we find within the members of the church on earth, great good but also at times, great evil. The church on earth is made up of sinners in need of repentance, forgiveness, and healing. Paragraph 827 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this situation as follows: “’Christ, ‘holy, innocent, and undefiled,’ knew nothing of sin, but came only to expiate the sins of the people. The Church, however, clasping sinners to her bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance and renewal.’ All members of the Church, including her ministers, must acknowledge that they are sinners. In everyone, the weeds of sin will still be mixed with the good wheat of the Gospel until the end of time. Hence the Church gathers sinners already caught up in Christ’s salvation but still on the way to holiness: ‘The Church is therefore holy, though having sinners in her midst, because she herself has no other life but the life of grace. If they live her life, her members are sanctified; if they move away from her life, they fall into sins and disorders that prevent the radiation of her sanctity. This is why she suffers and does penance for those offenses, of which she has the power to free her children through the blood of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
While we persevere in our life of faith, we need not despair of our wounds and weaknesses that may still need the Lord’s merciful and healing touch. In fact, a suitable response to the thought of God’s judgement is joy, knowing that He desires, when the time is right, whether it be in this life or in the life to come, to free us from the darnel that we may be having to endure at present.
Sunday Message and Look
Download this weeks Sunday Message and Look (for our younger parishioners) by clicking on the images, for all the readings for this week, as well as the prayers during mass and the usual weekly thoughts and reflections.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our mind, so that we can see what hope his call holds for us. Alleluia!