Not every element in a parable has to be taken in literal correspondence with reality (if so, it would technically be an allegory, not a parable.)
For example, in this parable, the wheat and the weeds represent those who follow Him vs. those who reject Him - or, if we read right to the end, the elect and the damned.
As individuals, we have free will to choose which role we can take, but we cannot choose and follow the good single-handedly without the grace of God (i.e., we are “sown” by God; see also the image of “God giving the increase” in 1 Corinthians).
However, we can also reject Him by choosing to follow the temptations of the Evil One, which is symbolically represented as being “sown by an enemy”.
God permits this because He has given us the freedom to accept or reject Him. It is not a question of His being unable to protect His field, but of His permitting us to exercise His gift of free will for either good or evil ends.
The point of the parable is not to explain the origin of evil, but to provide two lessons:
(a) Unaided by God, and without the guidance of His Spirit, merely human attempts to “eradicate evil” or “allow only the good to grow” are dangerous; we may end up harming the innocent as well as the guilty. (Think of any totalitarian state, or of fundamentalist Islam.)
(b) The final and definitive judgment of every man, and the separation of the saved from the damned, will take place at the end of time, and none of us can escape this.
…it is not about God’s Omnipotence and Omniscience… it is about Salvation, consider Jesus’ Words:
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor* and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. * (St. Matthew 5:43-48)
…now, by allowing Believers to coexist with sinners God can achieve two very important, yet distinct, goals: 1) purify the Believers, as they must emulate God’s Perfection even in the face of evil/combatants, and 2) allow evil to experience God’s Grace and Mercy through interaction with Believers.
Blame it on the automatic spelling template at CAF. It was all in big caps but came out like that after you pushed the ok button. Anybody knows how to correct it?
Hi. I ask for personal thought on this reading, not a full commentary which I can always get on my own. I was reflecting on it after the mass and would like to hear others’ point of view on it, if they have any at all. It is not a matter of right or wrong. It does not have to be always a competition on who can articulate on it better. Sheesh.
Agree with you that despite the present of evil in our world that we must always emulate God’s perfection.
But I was more in thinking about your second point. That’s really beautiful - God’s mercy. If He should allow evil to exist alongside the righteous, that’s perhaps because He is giving them chances to repent until the very end, the final judgment. That’s really awesome.
Thanks bro, for this post. I was thinking about free will too, but it is nice that you came out with the two lessons. It is interesting that you brought up the point of eradicating evil which could also harm the innocent. Perhaps it also supports that judgment should be God’s and God’s alone.
What I find so fascinating is the God is consistent through all of creation. We now from scripture that God also created the Angels with free will. Lucifer was the greatest among the Angels and yet God new when he created Lucifer that Lucifer would ultimately reject God in his pride. Lucifer was able to convince one third of the Angels to join him and rebel against God. The two thirds that remained faithful to God were in turn sanctified.
Hello Reuben. I do believe that our Free Will is a reflection of God’s attributes. If we were conceived without sin and did not have the capacity to sin and to choose the things of this world as opposed to God there really would not be anything special in doing God’s will in our life for we would not have a choice. In having Free Will our love of God is authentic and genuine in that we were not forced to love God but rather had a choice as to weather or “treasure” would be in God or in the world.