1. Introductory prayer
Our God is a loving God who ensures that from a small seed a mighty tree grows, a little yeast overgrows everything – and all this at the right time. I beg you, my God, for patience and trust that I witness the growth from small to great, although in between it seems, as if bad will overgrown the good.
2. Reading – Listening: The Gospel according to Matthew 13:24-43
The Parable of the Weeds
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast
31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds[a] of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:
“I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”
The Parable of the Weeds Explained
36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one,39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.
42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
3. Thoughts on the Gospel
- A parable of the weed. The man had sowed good seed, but the enemy has sowed weed among it at night. The servants would like to remove the weed, but the master tells them to wait until the harvest. Because the disciples do not understand the parable, Jesus explains it.
- The good seed are the children of the kingdom, the weed the children of wickedness and evil, the enemy who sowed it, is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the world.
Jesus replies with the parable to a question: From where does evil come from and why God does not remove all sinful and evil from the world? Why does he allow it?
- The question is as old as human kind. Already the Job in the Old Testament dealt with it. God appeared to him as evil, unjust, because he allowed such evil in the world.
- The bad are having good times, but the righteous are suffering. How can God allow it? Why not remove all the sinners? Job opposes God, he wants to prove to Him his wickedness and injustice.
And what does God answer? Something like this: “All right, come in to my place and you lead the world. Take the reins in your hands, make order, clear all the wicked from the face of the earth, then I will glorify you and give you a praise.”
- With these words, Job becomes silent. He admits he does not understand everything.
The world is full of things we do not understand or are difficult to accept. The suffering of innocent children, accidents, sudden death, exploitation, war … How can God allow all of this? One can choose between two: accusing God of being evil, wrong, or admitting that he does not understand everything and is silent. Many unfortunately choose the first option. They are too much orientated in their understanding of justice. Or they are similar to the servants who want to take the weed out immediately.
- What is Jesus’ response? The weed should grow together with the good seeds until the harvest. That is, God is patient. He gives the sinners the time to convert. And God speaks by the prophet Ezekiel: “I do not want the death of a sinner, but to convert and live.” The parable therefore speaks of God’s mercy.
- It also speaks of the end of the world. As the weed is collected and burned in to the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The wicked will be thrown into a fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. How do we understand the fiery furnace?
The French theologian Olivier Clement, a good connoisseur of the Church fathers, follows their teaching when he says: “We must pray that the fire of judgment – this is the fire of God’s love – pours out, not the sinners, but the evil that is in each of them.
To destroy the thoughts that the enemy has put, it does not mean to destroy a man, but to cleanse him, circumcise him. “Gregory of Nis speaks of God’s surgery.”
4. Meditation – thinking
About everything I have read and what has touched me, I am thinking now. I let my thoughts also touch my heart. Think:
- How can I prepare a little space in this summer time, that God will give all the little seeds of goodness in me?
- The word of God is alive, it is a relationship. Where can I meet with this Word which is calling me to become a mighty tree of good?
- God loves everything and turns everything to good. Where am I trying to be the judge instead of God?
- God loves life with taste, not sterility – he loves every part of our heart, even sinful. What mistakes, weaknesses do I want to get rid of in every way? How can I give it to God and let Him look at it with his love?
5. Personal Prayer
In the next moments of silence, I talk about of this with Jesus. I tell him what I think, what I feel, what I want. I ask him for the grace that I need for … (make your conversation with God)
6. Contemplation – Quiet moment with God
Now I let silence to be in me. I am simply present in God, as He is quietly present in me. Perhaps from this silence I hear God’s speech, which invites me perhaps in thanksgiving and worship, or to open myself and accept him in my path life and work, maybe He gives me the courage to continue searching for…
When I walk into a personal relationship with God, he changes me, makes me more loving and encourages me to the concrete action, which is….. (write down your insights for concrete action)
8. Prayer at the end
Thank you, God, you always keep giving to me small seeds of goodness, and you always give me the new chance of being alive. Evil shows up where something good already exists, when it’s time to decide and choose. God, please be my counselor and my guide when I choose, decide, to always choose Thee and our relationship, which will show me the steps to take.
9. Review of my prayer meditation or reflection
This is my view on what was happening in me at the time, I spent praying. In my reflection, I can help myself with the following questions:
- How was I feeling when I started praying?
- What happened during the prayer?
- What feelings and thoughts could I detect in myself?
- How did I feel at the revelations, which I had during my prayer?
- What did I learn about myself, about God, about his attitude towards me and others and me to him and others?
- How did I finish my prayer?
- What did I receive for my everyday life?
- In the end, I can write the lessons, findings and insights. I can write also, where I had problems, they may have great value in learning about my relationship and myself with God. They can also help to find a more appropriate way of prayer for me.
- Then I thank the Holy Trinity. If I pray with my family or in the community, friends, I can share with them what I felt in this prayer. By prayer for one another, you can support yourself throughout the week.
Lectio divina meditations are published and adapted with permission from the Jesuits home – ignacijevdom.si