How The Enemy Falls

Thomas Griffin (7/18/20)

Matthew 13:24-30 – Sunday Gospel

For the second Sunday in a row, we have Jesus telling a parable that regards farming. Last week, we saw that the ground we are on is a signpost for how we understand and digest the reality of God in our lives along with the fact that God spreads his life to everyone, never giving up on them. 

Now, we have a farmer who goes out into the field to sow seeds into the ground during the day, but an “enemy” comes at night to sow weeds amidst the good seed (Matthew 13:23-25). An important detail to notice is that this parable highlights the good nature of the seeds sown by the sower and the bad nature of the enemy who sows weeds. God creates everything as good (Genesis 1:31), however, there are threats to the good that come out, especially, at night. 

Christ taught in parable-form in order to force his listeners to contemplate divine realities. The Father has planted us all, here, on earth and made us to know him, love him, serve him, and be with him forever in heaven. God is love; God is Trinity; God is an eternal, infinite, and perfect relationship. In our lives, we allow the enemy (temptation, the Devil, our passions, etc.) to conquer our goodness when we fail to keep our relationship with God at the forefront of our existence.

God must be placed at the center of each day so that he may reign in his proper place as king of our lives. Jesus does not call us to honor God because God needs to be worshipped. We are called to worship because that brings out what it means to be most human: to live out this intimate relationship with God, in the here and now, as to prepare us for eternity. 

The good seeds, in the parable, have no control over the enemy entering the field to wreak havoc. They are, in a sense, innocent bystanders that are inflicted with serious threats on their very existence. Oftentimes, our lives are made up of the same evils or sufferings. We don’t do anything to deserve an illness, unemployment, pandemic, or violence in our streets, but they occur anyway. 

Jesus does not preach that if the seeds were more aware they would not have been harmed by the enemy. He simply states that the enemy comes at night and causes trouble. He seems to be preaching the message concerning our response to evil and sin, not our cause of evil and sin in our own lives (although we do inflict it on ourselves at times).

Once the weeds are sown among the good seed, the master’s servants report to him the incident and ask, “Do you want us to go and pull them up?” (Matthew 13:28). The master replies that they cannot pull up the weeds because this may uproot the good plants in the process. Harm, threats, and suffering will not be removed from their lives, nor from ours.

“Let them grow together until harvest” (Matthew 13:30). Then the men in charge of gathering the harvest will separate the good plants from the weeds and the plants overtaken by weeds from the flourishing harvest. The call of Christ this week is a mission of rooting out the weeds that surround us so that we do not become overwhelmed by sin and evil.

What are the relationships that are toxic to your faith? What are the secret sins you face that no one else knows about? What occurs in the night or what are the details by which you follow the lead of the enemy? How can you become more profoundly wrapped up in locating your relationship with God at the center of your life?

This week, and each week to follow, prepare for the harvest. Make a shift to focusing on that personal and intimate relationship with God which transcends any sin or evil. Worship him in true adoration in the Eucharist and follow the lead of the sower, who comes to give life, and bestow it upon us abundantly (John 10:10).

Then the weeds will fall, and the harvest will change the world.

Thomas Griffin teaches Apologetics in the religion department at a Catholic high school on Long Island and lives with his wife. He received a master’s degree in theology and is currently a master’s candidate in philosophy. He writes for several Catholic media outlets.

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