Godtalk: Handle with Care
In his parable of the Wheat and the Weeds. Jesus makes an analysis of the moral dilemma of the human race. He tells of a farmer who planted a crop of wheat. Later, under cover of darkness, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. When the crop started to mature, weeds were growing alongside the wheat.
The servants were puzzled as to how could this have happened. Should they pull up the weeds? The farmer told them to wait until the harvest. Then they could bundle up the weeds and burn them and gather the wheat into the barn.
Jesus interprets this parable primarily in terms of world view. We live in a world of good and evil and it will be like that until the end of time. But he could be talking about you and me personally as well. This story is not only a window on the world but also a mirror by which we look back at ourselves.
Jesus gives an accurate picture of human nature. Just take a look at ourselves and what do we find? All kinds of things - some good, some bad; some right, some wrong; some strong, some weak. We don’t have to go outside the field of our own hearts to find weeds growing side by side with the wheat.
Most of us think we’re not bad people, but we all know this isn’t the whole picture. There is as another side to us. We are recognising the duplicity of our nature; that within the individual human heart there is a capacity for both good and evil. In every one there is a strange mixture of ‘wheat and weeds.’
There are many characters in the pages of the Bible who show us this. There is Simon Peter saying to Jesus; “Lord, I would be ready to go to prison with you and to death… I will never deny you.” Then you turn the page over and you find him warming his hands at a fire and hear him say ‘Jesus? Who is Jesus? I don’t know him. I don’t know what you are talking about.’ Then he adds, I tell you, I have never known the man. There we have weeds growing in the same field as the wheat.
Human nature can be wonderful and it can be terrible. It can fly as high as an eagle, and crawl as low as a snake. Both the potential for good and the potential for evil seem almost unlimited. Each human heart is a field of its own in which wheat and weeds are growing side by side.
Jesus understood the dark side of human nature. He knew what it could do. It nailed him to a cross, but he kept on believing that people are redeemable. He believed in it so deeply he bet his life on it.
So when I am tempted to lose faith in myself and in other people, all I need to do is to look at Jesus. He keeps believing in in the human race, in you and me personally.
Peter Knott SJ