Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A
Reflecting on Matthew 13:24-43
The most inspiring experience in my life is the Greenwood Gallery. My friend Dr. Dan Feiten and his partners at Greenwood Pediatrics began this beautiful gallery in the lobbies of their medical offices decades ago. Each season they choose several children who have experienced some childhood disease and have them photographed in a beautiful studio. Their pictures are then hung in the lobbies of the offices, and I write the story about the child and that particular illness. It’s a way of educating the parents who are in the waiting room about various childhood illnesses, and also to show the resilience and courage of the young patients.
But it’s the conversation with the parents that always gets me. Here is the mom, exhausted but utterly in love with her autistic child who also has a sleep abnormality that gets him (and her) up several times every night. Here is the dad, the great champion of his little daughter who has a congenital heart defect. And here is the child, utterly unaware that he is smaller or slower or sicker than his classmates, laughing and running and loving his life, every, every minute.
When you think about it, the wheat in our lives will always be growing right next to the weeds. Our talents will be honed through the sting of competition. Our health will lose its battle with time. Our perfect children will have to face a world that may not love them as much as we do. But we all soldier on towards the sun. Such is our painful, joyful journey back to the Garden.
What tensions of wheat and weeds do you sense in your life?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).
I used to think that this Gospel described different people. While that is still part of the understanding, I came to realize that it also represents the free choices we each make, which bring weeds into our internal wheat field. We are responsible for “weeding” our individual gardens, so that we may be more wheat than chaff when judgment day comes for each of us.
To soldier on towards the sun…. I love that phrase. Reminds me of my Dad who survived the Death March of Capaz and Bataan. He held those wheats and weeds together for 69 years and when he got liberated, he had never uttered a bad word about the Japanese people. – – Cris
Wheat and weeds…as I drove through my Nebraska homeland over the weekend I saw them! They always grow together. It is important for the wheat to win the battle. But, they do always grow together. And so it is with people too, we all carry weeds within us, and God our harvester gathers the crop and burns the weeds. It is our truth as faithful people.
I love the gospel stories of wheat and weeds, sunshine and rain, fertile ground and rocky ground… It is all of God! Wheat AND weeds, soldiering on toward the sun together. Often we are so intertwined that separating one from the other kills both, as in Matthew’s parable. I think too it’s an amazing paradox that sometimes I am the WEED and sometimes I am the WHEAT, and sometimes I’m both at the same time. It is human and holy, all at the same time! (Rohr is really becoming a part of my soul, don’t you think? Or maybe I’m just seeing from a more Franciscan perspective;)