Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat–Matthew 13

Matthew 13

The Parable of the Weeds (Matthew 13:24-30)

24 He proposed another parable to them. “The Kingdom of Heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. 26 When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. 27 The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ 28 He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. 30 Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

The Explanation of the Parable of the Weeds (Matthew 13:36-43)

36 Then, dismissing the crowds, He went into the house. His disciples approached Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37 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. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.

The weeds in this parable can be likened to “unrepentant evildoers” who refuse to repent and ultimately are winnowed [sifted] out for condemnation. The weeds can also be viewed as our imperfections. The Church is composed of “sinners” who are called to struggle against their sinful tendencies–so as to lead virtuous [righteous] lives. They are on the path to salvation and holiness but have not yet arrived. In this parable, then, the weeds of sinfulness and the wheat of sanctity will coexist in each of us until the end of time. Our own fruitfulness in hearing and keeping the Word of God is determined by our desire and eagerness for a close friendship with Christ and fidelity to His teachings.

[Jesus often spoke in parables–stories that use images or metaphors to illustrate mysteries about the Kingdom of God. Through these parables, Christ instructed us to reflect on the Kingdom of God…and how the Word of God grows within us.]

References: CCC 827