Matthew 13.24–30, 36–43
Last week we heard a parable about seed, the Parable of the Sower. The sower throws seed all over the place, like it’s going out of fashion. Some of it — only some, mind — lands on good soil, where it takes root and grows fruit.
Today, we’ve heard another parable about seed, the Parable of the Weeds and the Wheat. The “weeds” are most likely darnel. Darnel is a poisonous weed that looks just the same as wheat in the early stages of growth; it’s only when harvest comes that you see the difference. The head of grain of the wheat plant is quite different to that of darnel.
As I did last week, I’d like to tell another story as well as the parable. This one comes from the early centuries of the church, when men and women ran away from the cities to the bush to form monastic communities and live in prayer.
They did that because they thought the church had become too lax. Its standards had dropped too far. The church was letting anyone in! As you can imagine, some of them were pretty judgemental. Here’s the story:
A member of a monastic order once committed a fault. A council was called to determine the punishment, but when the monks assembled it was noticed that Father Joseph was not among them. The superior sent someone to say to him, “Come, for everyone is waiting for you.”
So Father Joseph got up and went. He took a leaking jug, filled it with water, and carried it with him. When the others saw this they asked, “What is this, father?”
The old man said to them, “My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the error of another?”