The story Jesus tells is a simple one. There are weeds growing in a farmer's field, weeds that in the best of worlds shouldn't be there, and there is wheat growing in that field as well. Weeds are bad because they deprive the wheat of water and soil, diminishing the harvest. Wheat is good because it provides a living for the farmer and his family.
In some ways, we're not much different from the people Jesus spoke to 2000 years ago. The fact is we're all human; so we tend to identify ourselves with the wheat (the good stuff!) growing in the field. We see ourselves as good people. And the weeds? Well, the weeds are those other people the ones who mess things up terribly, harming themselves and others. I wish we could accurately categorize people that way, but we can't. You and I are not the wheat (the good stuff). You and I are not the weeds (the bad stuff). You and I are actually the farmer's field in which both weeds and wheat grow together. The truth is quite simple: there is some good and some bad in each of us. Of course more often we are quick to point out the bad in others : the weeds : yet seldom recognize the equally bad in ourselves. Contrariwise, we love to point out the wheat, the good, we think we are, but we too often have a hard time seeing the same goodness in the people around us.
Do you remember the story of the tribal elder talking with his young grandson? He told the youth that life is a continuing struggle between two wolves living inside each of us. One wolf is good, and generates joy and peace, compassion and truthfulness. The other wolf is bad, and generates jealousy and violence, deceit and selfishness. The young boy listened attentively, then asked his grandfather, "which wolf wins?" The elder replied, "The one you feed."
The wheat and the weeds. The good wolf and the bad wolf. We need to recognize they live within each of us. So, what is it we can take home from today's Gospel to help us this week? Three things: (1) Appreciate the goodness (the wheat) in others. (2) Recognize the faults (the weeds) in ourselves. But most importantly, for God's sake, (3) feed the good wolf!