Lectio: Matthew 13:36-43
1) Opening prayer
God our Father and protector,
without You nothing is holy,
nothing has value.
Guide us to everlasting life
by helping us to use wisely
the blessings You have given to the world.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 13:36-43
Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field." He said in reply, "He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are the children of the Evil One, and the enemy who sows them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his Kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear."
• The Gospel today presents Jesus’ explanation, at the petition of the disciples, of the parable of the wheat grain and the darnel. Some experts think that this explanation, which Jesus gives to His disciples, is not Jesus’ but the community’s. This is possible and probable, because a parable, by its nature, requires the involvement and the participation of people in the discovery of its significance. Just as the plant is already contained within the seed, in the same way, certainly, the explanation of the community is in the parable. And it is precisely this objective that Jesus wanted and wants to attain with the parable. The meaning which we are discovering today in the parable which Jesus told two thousand years ago was already enclosed, or contained, in the story that Jesus told, just as the flower is already contained in its seed.
• Matthew 13:36: The request of the disciples to Jesus: the explanation of the parable of the wheat grain and the darnel. The disciples, in the house, speak and ask for an explanation of the parable of the wheat grain and the darnel. (Mt 13:24-30). It has been said many times that Jesus, in the house, continued to teach His disciples (Mk 7:17; 9:28,33; 10:10). At that time, there was no television, and people spent the long winter evenings together, speaking about the facts and events of life. On these occasions Jesus completed the teaching and the formation of His disciples.
• Matthew 13:38-39: The meaning of each one of the elements of the parable. Jesus responds taking again each one of these elements of the parable and giving them significance: the field is the world; the good seed are the members of the Kingdom; the darnel is the members of the adversary (the evil one); the enemy is the devil; the harvest is the end of time; the reapers are the angels. And now reread the parable (Mt 13:24-30) giving to each one of these six elements: field, good seed, darnel, enemy, harvest and reapers, the right significance. In this way the story assumes a completely new sense and it is possible to attain the objective that Jesus had in mind when He told the parable of the darnel and the good seed. Some think that this parable should be understood as an allegory and not as a parable properly so-called.
• Matthew 13:40-43: The application of the parable or of the allegory. With the information given by Jesus, you will better understand its application: Just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send His angels and they will gather from His kingdom all causes of failing and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.”
The destiny of the darnel is the furnace. The destiny of the grain is to shine like the sun in the Kingdom of the Father. Behind these two images there is the experience of the people. After they have listened to Jesus and have accepted Him in their life, everything has changed for them. This means that in Jesus what they expected has taken place: the fulfillment of the promises. Now life is divided into before and after having accepted Jesus in their lives. The new life has begun with the splendor of the sun. If they continued to live as before, they would be like the darnel in the furnace: life without meaning, which is good for nothing.
• Parable and Allegory. There is the parable. There is the allegory. There is the mixture of both which is the more common form. Generally, everything in the parable is a call. In the Gospel of today, we have the example of an allegory. An allegory is a story which a person tells, but when she is telling it, she does not think about the elements of the story, but about the theme which has to be clarified. In reading an allegory it is not necessary to look at the story as a whole, because in an allegory the story is not constructed around a central point which later serves as a comparison. Rather, each element has its own independent function, starting from the sense which it receives. It is a matter of discovering what each element of the two stories tries to tell us about the Kingdom, as the explanation which Jesus gave of the parable: field, good seed, darnel, enemy, harvest, reapers. Generally the parables are also allegories, and a mixture of both.
4) Personal questions
• In the field everything is mixed up: darnel and grain. In the field of my life, what prevails: darnel or grain?
• Notice that this parable includes “all who cause others to sin” as well as “all evildoers”. We often just focus on our own sins. Do I focus on what effect I have on others and whether I cause others to sin by what I say or do? Will I think about that, now and during my self-examinations now?
• Have you tried to talk with other people to discover the meaning of some parable?
5) Concluding Prayer
How blessed is he who has Jacob's God to help him.
His hope is in Yahweh his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them. (Ps 146:5-6)