The Lord Weeds out the Darnel

Mt 13:24-30

‘Jesus put another parable before them, ‘The kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, then the darnel appeared as well. The owner’s labourers went to him and said, “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?” He said to them, “Some enemy has done this.” And the labourers said, “Do you want us to go and weed it out?” But he said, “No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.” ‘

It will not be before the End of Time that light and darkness will be completely separated, and it is the Lord Himself who will do it, sending His angels to bring about this separation, as He says elsewhere in the Gospel (Mt 13:49).

How much we would like to have a pure world and, even more, a pure Church! This is a legitimate desire. Indeed, in eternity it will be so: darkness will no longer dominate either our personal existence or the reality around us. Surely it is our deepest longing to live in eternal light and in undisturbed communion with God. We can and must look forward to this reality!

The awareness that we somehow live in an “unreal world” – even if it reveals the pain of the contradiction of human existence – can also give us the strength to persevere in our pilgrimage through time.

Reality in this world is different from what awaits us and where we are heading. The reality here is still marked by the darnel that the devil sows among the wheat, by the darkness that obscures the light….

Even if our longing is strong to be rid of the weight of the darkness of the world, not to hear of constant catastrophes, not to receive the announcement of the apparent victory of evil, we must know how to face this situation in the right way. This is what Jesus gives us to understand in the parable.

It is not in our human hands to create a perfect world, a “paradise on earth”, as we would wish it to be. Certainly we ourselves can change, allow God’s light to enter more and more into us, grow in purity of heart, restrain our passions, etc. But we cannot do it in other people! This is what parents often experience with pain, when their children take wrong paths.

Time and again throughout history, even with religious fervour, attempts have been made to build a different and apparently better world, but to no avail! And when violence was used to achieve it, things got even worse.

If Jesus had wanted to build the Kingdom of God on earth with violence, he would have given his followers weapons and instructed them accordingly. But his teaching is totally different: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Mt 5:4).

However, this does not mean that evil should not be resisted. State power must be able to limit evil, and we ourselves must not remain passive and powerless while the devil sows the darnel. But we cannot prevent this with violence; the “enemy” can only be defeated with spiritual weapons (cf. Eph 6:11-13).

In our daily prayer, therefore, we should express our renunciation of the powers of evil, confess the reign of Christ and urge him to put an end to evil with his Second Coming (cf. 2 Thess 2:8). It is also necessary to unmask evil and point it out, so that people are not deceived and end up considering evil as good (cf. Isa 5:20), and developing hostility towards the good.

But the best way to counteract evil is by constantly following the way of the Lord and allowing oneself to be guided more and more by Him. Darkness is driven away by light and night yields when day dawns. Doing good, resisting evil in the right way and trusting in the Lord’s help: this is what is really in our hands to do. The clearer it becomes to us, the more we will cease to be mere spectators of life and God will be able to act through us, giving us light and strength to do all that corresponds to our task and our possibilities. So it is not a matter of passively waiting for everything to be finished and ordained by God, but of cooperating within the framework of our limitations.