Weeds & Seeds
This week’s and last week’s Readings have a theme around agriculture/farming. Last week we were worried about getting the seeds in the right soil. Because we threw our seeds rather indiscriminately everywhere, we now have good plants growing among the weeds. To make this more of a challenge, it’s hard to distinguish what a good plant is and what a weed is. Many people like to grow tomatoes, peppers and squash. As these plants first emerge, it’s easy to distinguish the good from the bad. Carrots are another story. First, they have ridiculously small seeds. Secondly, they cannot be planted very deep. Third, when they start to grow, it’s extremely difficult to tell if they’re a good plant or a weed.
In my mother’s garden, she had a selected space for carrots. She carefully hammered small stakes into the ground and tied heavy string from one end to the other. Then she would use a little hoe to dig a shallow furrow just below string. Then she would gently spread the small carrot seeds along this furrow. Then she’d cover them with half an inch of dirt. I asked my mom, “Why are you doing all this work?”. She said, “If you want to have carrots, this is what we have to do.” Once the carrots were planted, I was going to remove the string, and she told me not to do that. We need the string to find the carrots. I thought, “Wouldn’t they grow from the ground like the other plants?”. Well, yes and no.
The small carrot seedlings began to grow. With a multitude of weeds. And as in today’s Gospel, the weeds resembled the small carrot seedlings. I was on my knees looking at these little plants. I couldn’t tell the difference between a good plant and a weed. Now, having the string still there, I was grateful to know where the plants should be. I’d take the weeds out of the ground up to an inch of where the string was. In a couple of days, as the plants grew, the carrots grew leaves in different shapes, different from weeds. Now I could weed closer to the carrot plant. Still, it was frustrating because if I pulled the weed out of the ground too quickly, the little carrot plant would come with it. Just like today’s Gospel.
Finally, the carrot became big enough, and I could remove all the weeds. But now came the sad part. You would have to eliminate some carrot plants because too many of them grew in one place. The seeds are so small when planted that sometimes too many in one place would germinate. With so many carrot plants growing in one place, some of them would have to be removed to allow the others to grow. If some of them were not removed, some of the carrots would be exceptionally long and thin and not very good. I think of Jesus talking about pruning the vine. It hurts, but we all need to be pruned.
With all this work, we’d have an abundance of carrots. It took time and patience. In today’s parable, God has a lot of time and patience. He knows where to plant the seeds, who will plant the seeds, who will weed the garden, who will prune the garden, and who will harvest the crop. We must bear the good fruit. We might start to look like weeds to other people, but the gardener knows. We are given many opportunities to become the good fruit. We’re full of hope. But we also trust in God. We know that God wants the best for us, even if we don’t know what “the best” is. Realizing that God only wants the best for us; then we have to trust Him. The easiest way to trust in God is to accept His will. Accept what He has given us. Accept that He does not give us everything, only what we need when we need it. Accept God in your life.
May the Lord bless you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen