Today’s Readings for the Daily Office
Psalm 56, 57,  (Morning)
Psalm 64, 65 (Evening)
Enemies and End Times
How about some thorny questions: If all humankind is one, if we are all created in God’s image, do we have enemies? Who are they? What do they do that would lead us to consider them as enemies? How should we respond to them? Today’s reading from Matthew provides us plenty to ponder as we take up these questions.
To get a clear perspective on Matthew 13: 36-43, you need to go back about dozen verses to Matthew 13: 24-29, which recounts the actual parable of the seeds. In it, a farmer has planted some good seeds to raise wheat, but in the night some folks have infiltrated the field and planted bad seeds, and these will sprout into weeds. The servants ask whether they should pull out the bad seeds, but the farmer tells them to let both the wheat and the weeds grow. It’s difficult to tell the good seed from the bad, he warns, and in pulling out the bad, the servants might actually destroy some of the good. Wait for the harvest, the farmer advises, and the harvesters—note, not the farmer’s servants—will bundle up the weeds and burn them. Our passage for today, then, explains the parable in rather simple terms. The farmer is the Son of Man. The folks who plant the bad seeds are evil-doers, our enemies. The harvesters are God’s angels who will minister to His people in the end.
While the apparently simple dualism in this explanation might be troubling, I think we can take comfort in its clear points: If we do have enemies—and it’s difficult to discern them–they are people who intentionally try to malign and distort the love of God, the good harvest. Is it wise to take action against them in the heat of the moment? Probably not, the parable advises. Tend to your own garden. Leave judgment to God.
Written by David Jolliffe
David, a native West Virginian, was lucky to have professors take him to England and introduce him to the Anglican tradition at age 20. Now, 45 years later, he still loves to worship and sing in the Episcopal Church.