The Gospel reading from the Mass for Saturday of the 16th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 13:24-30.

Continuing His “Sermon of Parables” in Matthew 13, in the Parable of the Weeds among the Wheat, as with all Christ’s parables, mysteries are revealed in short, somewhat cryptic stories. Christ explains His meaning of this parable in Matthew 13:36-43; Christ’s explanation can be found in the Daily Devotional on Tuesday next (17th Week in Ordinary Time). 

Knowing His audience intimately through His 30 years of living in a small Galilean town, Christ had first-hand experience of the challenges of securing one’s daily bread. As with the Parable of the Sower (Matt 13:1-9), the Parable of the Weeds among the Wheat speaks directly to a society that lived close to the land; all of those who heard Christ’s words either worked the land or encountered the production of food regularly. The Parable of the Weeds among the Wheat continues to prompt a visceral reaction by those who toil and sweat, struggling with ever-present weeds choke out their crops. Christ knew how to connect with men. 

To modern readers, the “plot” of an enemy coming at night to sow weeds may seem to be a bit far-fetched; it is not.  The evil tactic of sabotaging another’s field had serious ramifications for families/society that relied on successful crops to survive; if crops failed, people starved and could use their land. The occupying Roman army had to rely on local food and it was a crime to sow weeds.  

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ comes as the Son of Man, living among His Creation in solidarity. Divine King, Christ rallies His men by revealing the Spiritual Combat using masculine themes (e.g. attacks by enemies).  Divine Teacher, Christ instructs His followers using powerful parables that draw on the perennial experiences of being human. 

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) The world is flooded with a tsunami of shows and movies delivered via TV, internet and cell phone; most of it is a sea of mindless mediocrity and sewage, lacking meaning, memorability and is often soul-destroying. Marvel at Christ’s astounding ability to create short parables based on human experience that have profound spiritual meaning and have appealed to men across the ages. 

2) Like the mysterious growth of seeds, the Kingdom of God on earth is made manifest in the growth of the Catholic Church. Renew your understanding of the mystery of the Holy Catholic Church (CCC 748-780) and pray for Christ to continue to bless His Church and reveal how He wishes to use you to build His Church. 

3) Since Adam had to toil and sweat in the world (Gen 3:17-19), men across time have toiled in nature. The increasingly technology-enabled society has disconnected men from God’s Creation and God Himself, emasculating and softening them. Reflect upon the beauty of the Visible World (CCC 337-354) and commit to begin a practice of getting out in Creation regularly; consider learning how to grow some of your own food.