“The Blessed Mother and our Weeds among the Wheat” (Mt 13:24-30)
Fr. Ignatius John Schweitzer, OP
As we look out into the world today, we can find many examples of weeds growing up among the wheat. But as we point the finger outward, there’s those three fingers pointing back at ourselves. So it’s good to reflect first on the weeds growing up among the wheat within ourselves.
Sometimes the weeds entail some sinfulness but sometimes not. Sometimes it can simply be some area of ourselves that we just don’t like. Maybe something in our temperament or something formed in us by our upbringing.
Fresh off a family visit, I can say it was an illuminating experience for me to ponder anew that most of the very things that irk me about my family are also in me! Also kind of painful, huh? What we dislike about ourselves, we can despise in others. And vice-versa as well. And this is helpful, right. What we see we despise in others, if we dig a little deeper, we might discover it’s the very thing we dislike in ourselves.
The weeds growing up among the wheat can be these basic pre-reflective character faults or aspects of our personality. Maybe it’s an area of weakness, a limitation we can’t quite overcome, a vulnerable spot we are stuck with. That can be the weed that seems to be choking the wheat. But living with this weakness and limitation may be the very thing that forms in us a heart of compassion, for instance. A compassionate heart for others and for our self. It can be a good thing that the weeds and wheat grow up together.
However, sometimes, despite our lack of choice in much of this, we can see that our sinfulness is playing a part in it. What has been given by nature and nurture, we have tainted by our personal sinfulness. Alongside the wheat, there are the weeds, and they are some prickly and thorny weeds. But even here, we can see how God can bring good out of this evil, as we struggle on. Patience, courage, trust in God, dependence on His grace, humility, strength of resolve. Perhaps in our individual case, the wheat of these good things would be plucked up prematurely if the weeds were magically pulled up right away.
On this Saturday, devoted to Mary, our Blessed Mother, it’s worth reflecting a moment on her role in bringing a greater good from all this. Even our own earthly mothers were quite good at dealing with the mud on our face, the dirt we dragged in, the toads we had in our pockets. They were even quite skilled in dealing with our wildness, our crankiness, and our selfishness. Mothers, generally, are committed to raising good and upright boys and girls, but they also have to put up with a lot of junk along the way. Mothers often have a knack for skillfully bringing good out of the bad. Thus it is with Mary, our Blessed Mother.
So, as we see the weeds among the wheat in our own lives, we then with humility turn to the outside world and find weeds among the wheat there too. Doing our best to pluck out the weeds that we can, we entrust the whole messy situation to our Blessed Mother. Our Preface of the Mass speak of traits of Mary that we need here. It tells of Mary’s “maternal role in the Church of intercession and pardon, of prayer and grace, of reconciliation and peace.” Amen. [from Mediatrix Mass]