This Sunday’s Gospel continues Matthew’s collection of Jesus’ parables, with more on sowing seed, something very familiar to all Jesus’ hearers. Click here to read it.
In this “parable of the wheat and the tares (weeds),” Jesus gives one of his best and most direct answers to the question “Why would a good God allow bad things to happen?”
If you start pulling weeds in a wheat field, you will destroy a good portion of the wheat. So it is in the course of this life — we can’t always separate the good from the evil. We may look at certain acts and name them clearly and unequivocally evil, but the reality of evil is far more complex and interwoven in us both individually and as a society.
Each one of us is a mixture of both, aren’t we? Even the very “best” people I know admit to struggles and sin, and even the “worst” people I’ve met have some glimmer of goodness still in them. The same forces of weather that bring rains to quell the brush fires and grow our food also bring us tornadoes and hurricanes.
In the complexity of this creation, filled with free willed creatures, the good and the evil are so intermixed that we cannot simply “pull” one and leave the other. So, for this season, we live with the wheat and the tares, the good and the bad, side by side.
There is an old American Indian story of a man coming to a wise elder of the tribe and describing this sense that there were two wolves fighting within him, one pushing for the good and the other for the bad. He lived in fear of the outcome of this battle and asked the elder “Which one wins?” The elder replied, “The one you feed.”
In the midst of this life, it is our responsibility to feed the good and starve the evil. How are you starving the evil in your own life? In the lives of those around you? How are you feeding the good in your own life? In the lives of those around you?
This column appeared in the St. John’s Weekly eNews for July 23, 2017. Click here for the complete issue. Click here to get the eNews in your inbox every Thursday afternoon.