Reflection on Matthew 13:24-30,36-40
The Sunday Slot 10
In our reading this week Jesus continues his teaching in parables and is still on the theme of sowing seeds. This week we see how the seeds are sown in the field but that weeds grow among the wheat which is problematic. We are told that the problem is solved not by pulling up the weeds but by waiting until all the crops have grown and then separating the wheat from the weeds.
A traditional interpretation of this is, very broadly speaking, is that those who lead good lives are the wheat and will live happily ever after in the kingdom and those who are bad, the weeds, will be cast out to a place where they will be burned and they will weep and gnash their teeth – whatever teeth gnashing means! But if this was how Jesus saw it there would hardly be need for a parable…if it did mean this then simple straight talking would suffice. But Jesus uses parables in order to go much deeper into the soul where truth can be heard.
So what might this passage really mean for us?
Firstly I’ll lay the foundations.
I often talk about us having two natures which are often at odds with each other. Here are some of the labels that might be used in referring to them:
Higher self – Lower self
True self – False self
Worldly spirit – Holy spirit
Divine nature – Human nature
Ego centre – Christ centre
Walking in darkness – Walking in light
And we might also now add wheat and weeds!
We see these natures in many passages in scripture – here are a couple of examples.
‘God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.’
‘Then the lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.’
So you see we each have within us what we might call the divine child with the potential to grow up into all that God Intended us to be and we all have within us the ego trying to make its way through this world ignoring God, totally self oriented because it’s goal in life is personal survival. You may even recognise the battle between the two within yourself . But in the end, the Christ path will lead to a world where all can thrive and the Ego path will lead to self and ultimately world destruction.
As we grow in the Christ like nature (Wheat), the Weeds are there right alongside. If we grow strong as wheat, in time we withstand the exhortations to gossip and look after number one first and to grasp and grab in the supermarkets at the coming of a global pandemic. We come to know that the egoic mentality will ultimately lead to the destruction of the whole world so we continue to choose the path of humility, of loving God first and neighbour as self.
Now some people reach a fullness in their growth as Wheat so that the Weeds no longer have any sway at all. Paul expresses this when he says ‘It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. He has come into his fullness in Christ – the ego has all but died a death.
But let us remember where Paul begins this journey.. ie as Saul. Full of the lower nature, hating the Christians, all out to persecute them and as far from that inner divinity as a person can be …Then think about the Paul who arrives at this point of expressing ‘ it is not I who lives but Christ who lives in me. We might say that he begins his journey as a total weed and ends as a full ripe ear of wheat. He has let go of his egoic nature and grown into the fullness of Christ.
But now think of the journey he went through to arrive at this, did he weep and gnash his teeth on the way…you bet he did. Profound spiritual growth from, the one nature to the other always comes through pain, hardship and times of great deal of trial. But for those who reach this fullness, who are truly ripe for the harvest, will find that their work for the kingdom then knows no bounds. Follow the lives of any of the great saints and you will find this pattern present at the very heart of their lives.
Of course It’s hard to imagine that we will all reach this state of fullness in this earthly life though any progress we make is important. But does our progress finish when we leave this earth?
One of the great passages that Paul gives us in the second letter to the Corinthians, chapter 5 tells us that God, in Christ, was reconciling all things to himself. This means that our sense of separation from God (which is nothing more than an illusion born of the dual nature) will be resolved. In other words we will come into that fullness of our divine nature and know oneness with God that Paul speaks of. God’s work whether it be done on earth or in heaven will not stop until All of creation is reconciled..
So be at peace, as hard as it is to imagine, we do have a hope beyond our wildest imaginings that in the end ALL creation will be safely gathered in and every tear we cry in the process of becoming whole shall be wiped dry.