Chapter 13 begins a sequence of three sets of parables. Eugene Boring says that “in the preaching of Jesus, parables were not vivid decorations of a moralistic point but were disturbing
stories that threatened the hearer ́s secure . . . world of assump- tions by which we habitually live” (Matthew, New Interpreter’s Bible, 299). Even this simple agricultural scene lends itself to varied interpretations.
Is Jesus re ecting on the presence of evil in the universe? Or is Jesus speaking against building boundaries of exclusion? This scripture challenges us to discover its meaning for our times. The way good mixes with evil in our communities and worldwide continues to baf e us. Surely our Lord would not ask his followers to remain passive in the face of evil! In a subtle way he advises that an opportune time for action, for decision, exists. The weeds will eventually be eliminated but not in the fashion that the servants propose. Their approach could have caused damage instead of healing.
As we consider evil in our midst, we may nd ourselves questioning God’s nature and approach: “Master, did you not sow good seed in your eld?” The servants move from obser- vation to a plan for action: “Do you want us to go and gather them?” And the reply comes, “No.”
God sheds eternal wisdom on human pathways. With no xed recipe, God invites us into a risky adventure where we discover what is valuable and what is not. We trust the guidance of the Spirit of God as we mark each day ́s pilgrimage.
Lord of the harvest, I constantly need your direction and inspi- ration to take my daily steps. I ask for your guidance today. Amen.
This week’s texts depict a broad span of settings of God’s activity, from Jacob’s encounter in solitude to the broader context of creation itself in Romans. The texts also tell of God’s commission of human agents, weak and inadequate, to carry out divine tasks. Jacob may not be totally aware of God’s plans for him, but the reader knows. Paul declares that the people in whom the Spirit of God dwells are very much in tune with the pain of creation. They also long for God’s nal deliverance. Just at the point of the reluctance of God’s agents to carry out the tasks, the parable from Matthew about the wheat and weeds gives hope. God will take care of the weeds in God’s own time. Psalm 139 is a moving statement on the ubiquitous nature of God’s presence.
• Read Genesis 28:10-19a. When have you “wakened” to acknowledge that you were in a holy place? What did you do to memorialize the place?
• Read Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24. Do you regularly take time in a set-aside place for an intimate relationship with God? If not, what steps could you take to ensure that relationship?
• Read Romans 8:12-25. Do you feel close enough to God to call God “Abba”? Why or why not?
• Read Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. What are you doing to discourage the growth of evil in your life? How does your garden grow?
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