Preached on July 20, 2014 at Btown Inclusive Mass.
"He told another story. “God’s kingdom is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. That night, while his hired men were asleep, his enemy sowed thistles all through the wheat and slipped away before dawn. When the first green shoots appeared and the grain began to form, the thistles showed up, too. “The farmhands came to the farmer and said, ‘Master, that was clean seed you planted, wasn’t it? Where did these thistles come from?’ “He answered, ‘Some enemy did this.’ “The farmhands asked, ‘Should we weed out the thistles?’ “He said, ‘No, if you weed the thistles, you’ll pull up the wheat, too. Let them grow together until harvest time. Then I’ll instruct the harvesters to pull up the thistles and tie them in bundles for the fire, then gather the wheat and put it in the barn.’” (The Message)In the Name of God: the One who allows the thistle to grow among the wheat knowing the day will come when evil is no more and peace covers the entirety of the earth. Amen.
Today our Scripture readings fill us with hope and expectation! They share with us the promise of God that a time is coming when peace will triumph, when evil will be radically destroyed with good and when love will rule the land in ever sense of the imagination. Each reading today was literally bursting with the expectation of the manifestation of a godly world. That is a world that isn’t ruled by greed, hatred, malice, strife, jealousy, fear or envy but rather one ruled by patience, goodness, gentleness and self control - in a spirit of harmony, a spirit of unity. This hopeful expectation has been a core belief of both our parent religion, Judaism, and of Christianity since the very start. You will remember our Paschal promise that “Christ is Risen,” a spiritual reality declaring that evil has already lost its foothold and death has been destroyed. As people of faith we are called to live in the present, seeking to bring God’s ways into their midst. We do this while also remaining hopeful for the future age when the promises of God will be radically realized and embraced by all people-kind. A time when the power of the resurrection will not only rule in our hearts but in every segment of society and life. The very misunderstood and poorly interpreted apocalyptic texts, such as Revelation, are all about this hope and promise. They are poetic and colorful symbols and images of the faith-filled confidence that one-day peace will replace war, life will replace death and abundance will replace hunger. St. Jerome, who lived in the late fourth century and early fifth century, conveyed this faithful hope quite well, when he said: “In the end and consummation of the Universe all are to be restored into their original harmonious state, and we all shall be made one body and be united once more into a perfect man and the prayer of our Savior shall be fulfilled that all may be one.”
Jesus referenced this hopeful age or time quite often in his parables throughout the Gospels, while still requiring the listener to be fully present in their daily lives. He did so today in our reading from Matthew. If you remember, last week we encountered the story of the sower of seeds or the farmer. We came to understand that the farmer represents God. And in her unending goodness we realized that God is not stingy with seeds of love but extravagantly sows them upon all the earth, in expectation that we all will arrive at his doorstep sooner or later and all will be forgiven. Today, we again encounter God as a farmer. As last week, an interpretation is given for this parable a few verses later but this interpretation is once again, most likely, not original to Jesus. Rather it is an attempt of the Matthean Community to make sense of the times and events in which they lived. So today let’s approach this parable with open hearts and open minds, seeing what God wishes to convey to us.