Reflection for the Seventh Sunday after Trinity – wheat and weeds.

“Let both of them grow together until the harvest.” Jesus, in Matthew 13:24-30,36-43.

”The time will come that gold will hold no comparison to a bushel of wheat.” 

Brigham Young

Today’s Gospel reading is the parable of the wheat and tares, which Jesus likens to the kingdom of heaven. A farmer has sown good seed but, when it starts to grow, weeds are appearing too – probably darnel, which looks much like wheat at first but is poisonous in large quantities and means that the flour can’t be used if it’s mixed with the wheat. The servants are anxious to pull out the tares before they can ruin the crop but, as the roots entwine, this would pull up the wheat too. In those days, farmers would be dependent on good seed as well as the right weather and, without the sprays often used today, malicious action by an enemy could have disastrous results. The enemy is not named in Jesus’ parable but the workers are indignant at what’s happened – possibly in case they might be blamed. They have also done the hard work of preparing the ground and sowing the seed so they are the ones who want to uproot the weeds in the hope that the wheat will flourish through what they do. 

However, the farmer wants it all left until the harvest, as it can then be more easily separated with the wheat being stored and the tares burnt. Rather than finding an immediate solution which may do harm, he chooses to wait and patience is required until the time is right and the damage can be minimised. Patience that is sometimes so hard to endure – many have prayed for patience and wanted it NOW!

That may be hard for the workers who are perhaps more used to smaller tasks and short-term goals. Patience is also a quality required here as the harvesting of the hillside’s trees continues – as one of the harvesters said, it should look fine again in only forty years from now!

With Ukraine and Russia supplying 28% of the world’s wheat exports and the price fluctuating hugely because of the war and the resultant rising cost of living, Jesus’ parable is particularly appropriate. In the challenges being faced individually and collectively, patience can at times become procrastination and, two thousand years later, his message is still pertinent. When Jesus likens the kingdom of God to a field where wheat and weeds are growing  together, it’s a reminder to his followers that this is to be expected as part of God’s kingdom here on earth. So, finding wheat and tares together is actually a sign of the kingdom. Any news broadcast shows that good and evil, fruitfulness and weeds are entwined in our world today and that needs to be recognised as part of the growth until the time is right for harvesting.

Potential crop and tares are present in every life, too; are we, like those workers, wanting to rush in quickly to overcome challenges and risk further damage? Perhaps we identify with the farmer, showing patience and longer-term planning? So, if weeds and woes seem to be dominant, take heart – it may be a reminder that the crop is growing too, entwined until the time is right for harvesting. That time may be nearer than is realised – as Jesus says, “Let anyone with ears listen!” (v43)

With my prayers; pob bendith,

Christine, Guardian.