Tilling The Garden | Deacon Reflections | The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners,

We are in the second of three weeks of readings where Jesus is using parables, or short morality stories, to teach us about the Kingdom of God. Why does Jesus use parables? By speaking in parables, Jesus grants understanding to those who are seeking after Him – revealing truth to those who are willing to listen and thoughtfully consider what He has to say. Conversely, those whose hearts are hardened against Him have the truth hidden from them.

Last week, we learned through the Parable of the Seed and the Sower what type of soil the seed fell on. We can liken this to the Word of God being planted in our hearts. In this week’s Gospel, Jesus shares with us the Parables of the Weeds among the Wheat and the Mustard Seed, both referring to some of the choices we have to make in our lives. We are all aware of our free will. Jesus never forces Himself on anyone. We always have choices to make, and whether they’re good or not so good, we still have the freedom to choose.

We have an idea about how Jesus wants us to live. He wants us to love one another and help each other build His kingdom here on earth as we wait for the day to be with Him in Heaven, even though we know that isn’t the easiest task to accomplish. God has given us the freedom to make our own choices and, unfortunately, sometimes we decide to do things our own way and not follow Jesus. These are the times when we become the weeds in the crop.

It’s like trying to keep up your lawn. You fertilize it. You water it. You try not to trample on it, if you can avoid it.  Then, out of the blue, weeds start to pop up.  We tend to just pull them as we see fit.  Many times, when we pull those weeds, we can see that we’re also uprooting the good grass. So, what do we do?  We treat it. We nurture the grass. We continue to work on eliminating the weeds over time. If we’re consistent in this, it will be difficult for that weed to return.

This is akin to our spiritual life. We need to nurture our relationship with God through prayer, scripture, the sacraments, etc. Oftentimes, weeds (sins) get in the way and try to uproot the good that we are also trying to do. That’s when we need to fertilize and use the gifts and resources God has given us. The Mass, the Rosary, and Reconciliation are just a few of the “lawn tools” to keep our field (our heart) in order.

How are you tending to the weeds in your life? How will you continue to allow the Lord to fertilize your heart? My prayer is that the Master Gardener will sift through and sort out all the weeds in our hearts so that we may produce a bountiful harvest for Him!

Peace of Christ,
Deacon Ray Ferreris