Sunday July 19

Gospel of Matthew 13:24–30

Let them grow together until harvest

Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a person who sowed good seed in their field. While everyone was asleep the enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to the owner and said, ‘Did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ The owner answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ the owner replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”

I am struck by how gentle is the way of God that Jesus describes here. As the movement of the spirit within the human heart is so subtle and delicate, God’s way is to wait patiently so that no goodness is destroyed in the growth.

Today I read a retreat note of Mary Ward’s dated October 1619. I think that this entry encapsulates the mystery of heartfelt discernment. Mary wrote this at a time when she would have been discerning the Constitutions for the Institute (which was to become a religious community that has flourished over centuries and lasts in many countries to this day).

As she reflects on her prayerful discernment she begins,

 ‘A great calmness, yet freedom of all pours. Present to God, and present to myself.’ 

Mary then goes on to describe the effects of the movement of the Spirit within and her deep feelings of consolation and desolation before concluding,

‘I see in our Institute what I cannot say, and more by a certainty that there is in it what I do not see.’

I perceive that Mary is listening deeply to the mystery of God’s presence in her heart. Jesus’ parable invites us, like Mary, to take time, to be patient and listen to the way of the Spirit, in order to grow in loving trust and communion with God.

Can I take time to become still and listen patiently to the Spirit?

Where is the Spirit of gentleness in my life?