Scripture: Matthew 13:36-43
Key verse: (43) “Let anyone with ears listen!“
Reflection: If you garden in the summer, you know how weeds can sprout up among your plants. In my garden this year, I noticed that there were many weeds that looked like the good plants I had planted. (It can be difficult to tell them apart sometimes.) A big beautiful plant came up in my garden. I thought it was one of the many varieties of flowers I had planted, but I discovered it was a weed! Since it wasn’t ugly, I didn’t pull it up because I would disturb the plants around it – the plants I wanted to keep. I waited until the good plants were well established before I did anything. Then I could easily pull up the weed. Much like the parable of the wheat and the tares, I allowed this weed to grow up with the good plants.
In our passage today, Jesus explains the parable of the weeds among the wheat (which he taught in Matthew 13: 24-30). He explains the parable to his disciples in this way: the one who sows good seed is the Son of Man (the Messiah). The field is the world and the good seed are the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one. The reapers are the angels who will collect all that causes sin and all evildoers and burn them up in a fiery furnace. His explanation is an answer to why the wicked prosper and why doesn’t God destroy evil now. We all know that good and evil are around us. We see it and we experience it through the action and inaction of others and ourselves. Jesus says, let the good and the bad grow up side by side. He reminds us that in the end all will be made right by God. This is frustrating when we have a vision of eradicating evil now. When faced with the overwhelming problems around us, we learn to accept that there is only so much we can do. And, we do it! Yet, according to Jesus evil will still be around. If we are hoping to make the world into a Utopian vision of peace and love, this side of heaven, we will be disappointed. A realistic view of the world can help us affect change in Jesus’ name, knowing that God allows evil to exist – for now. Evil is real and we must take it seriously as we continue to grow in faith as children of God spreading the message of hope, love, and forgiveness while working for justice for all people. Evil is with us and we can take a stand against it in the way we live our lives, helping others and offering hope in Jesus’ name.
Prayer: Lord, how we long for a world without pain and struggle. Help us trust in your power to overcome evil with good, knowing that you alone set all things right in the end. May we face the evil in the world knowing that you are with us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].