To Stand Out Among Tares
One sunny afternoon, a few sisters
and I volunteered to remove the weeds in a neglected patch of ground at church.
It wasn’t long before we discovered that none of us had any gardening
My initial reaction to the garden was,
“What weeds? Where?” The other sisters looked just as puzzled. To our surprise,
a brother told us that all the tall, green fern-like plants integrated among
the flowers were actually weeds and had to be removed.
We had thought the weeds looked
kind of pleasant growing beside the flowers. We couldn’t tell that they were
overtaking and slowly killing the garden. Their subtle and deceiving appearance
cast doubts in us even as we were removing weeds by the handful. Once in a
while we would ask, “These are weeds too, right?” because we were afraid of
pulling out the good plants.
This encounter reminds me of the
parable Jesus told, which uses the metaphor of tares, or weeds, to represent
the sons of the wicked one. We are to live among the tares until the harvest at
the end of the age, as Jesus instructed, “[L]est
while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both
grow together until the harvest” (Mt 13:29, 30a). Although we are supposed to
be the good seeds, we are sometimes sadly unable to distinguish ourselves from
the tares while living in this world.
However, Jesus reminds us that we
are the light of the world and must shine before men, that they may see our
good works and glorify Him (Mt 5:14, 16). If we are assimilated in the world,
we may be consumed along with the tares. But as the sons of the kingdom,
separate and different from this world, we are not meant to be cast into the
fire along with the tares on the day of judgment.
Despite the tares present in our
daily lives, we should long to be righteous and set apart, shining forth as the
sun in the kingdom of our Father (Mt 13:43).
Question for Reflection:
What are some areas you need to
improve on so as to shine forth the light of God even as you live among tares?