Tuesday of Week 17 of Ordinary Time – Gospel

Commentary on Matthew 13:36-43

Today we have an interpretation of the parable of the wheat and the weeds (or darnel). It begins by telling us that Jesus left the crowds and went to “the house”. This is the nameless place where Jesus is at home with his disciples. As suggested earlier, it is the place for the ‘insiders’, those who are close to Jesus in the sense of following him and accepting his way and is a symbol of where communities of Christians gathered in the early Church. Here Jesus is alone with his own disciples, away from the crowd.

His disciples ask for an explanation of the parable about the wheat and the weeds. Likely enough, what follows is less the actual words of Jesus than a reflection of the early Christian community applying the parable to their own situation. The parable, which basically makes one point, is now turned into an allegory where each part has a symbolic meaning of its own:

  • The sower is Jesus himself
  • The field is the world
  • The good seed represents the subjects of the Kingdom
  • The weeds are the subjects of the evil one
  • The enemy who sowed the weeds was the devil
  • The harvest is the end of the world
  • The reapers are the angels
  • Whereas in the original parable, the emphasis seems to be more on the necessary and unavoidable coexistence of good and bad within the Christian community, the emphasis here is more on what will happen at the end: the punishment of the wicked and the reward of the good.

    Let us pray that we may be found among the good seed of the Kingdom. We do that by opening ourselves fully to Jesus our King and Lord and following the way he asks us to follow.

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