Let my eyes stream with tears
day and night, without rest,
Over the great destruction which overwhelms
the virgin daughter of my people,
over her incurable wound.
If I walk out into the field,
look! those slain by the sword;
If I enter the city,
look! those consumed by hunger.
Even the prophet and the priest
forage in a land they know not.
Have you cast Judah off completely?
Is Zion loathsome to you?
Why have you struck us a blow
that cannot be healed?
We wait for peace, to no avail;
for a time of healing, but terror comes instead.
We recognize, O LORD, our wickedness,
the guilt of our fathers;
that we have sinned against you.
For your name’s sake spurn us not,
disgrace not the throne of your glory;
remember your covenant with us, and break it not.
Among the nations’ idols is there any that gives rain?
Or can the mere heavens send showers?
Is it not you alone, O LORD,
our God, to whom we look?
You alone have done all these things.
Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house.
His disciples approached him and said,
“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the Evil One,
and the enemy who sows them is the Devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels,
and they will collect out of his Kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun
in the Kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.
I. THEME: Each person must be responsible for his acts.
There isn’t a human act which doesn’t cause results for that person, his family and society. Many times, people don’t think about results when they act; but if they can see future, they shall be afraid the results which their acts caused them. Therefore, before deciding to do anything, especially important decisions, we need to be wise and mature so that we don’t cause terrible results for ourselves, our family and community.
Today readings want to show the damages caused by past actions. In the first reading, the prophet Jeremiah wanted to show a historical lesson. Since the Israelites disregarded the law and God’s words which were spoken by prophets, they must endure terrible results: they lost their homes and country, the temple Jerusalem was destroyed, many of their familial members were died and they were on exile. In the Gospel, Jesus explained the parable of the weeds for his disciples. God always sows the good in human mind to guide them to do good acts. The devil, in opposition, always sow the wicked in human mind to urge them to do bad acts. Human beings have freedom to choose to follow God’s teaching or the devil’s temptation, but they must be responsible for their acts both in this world and in the Last Day.
1/ Reading I: The Israelites recognized their sins when they suffered.
1.1/ We wait for peace, to no avail; for a time of healing, but terror comes instead: Today passage supposed the war happened in the whole region of Judah as the prophet Isaiah and Micah had announced. The prophet Jeremiah is considered as the prophet of the exile. He witnessed all things that are fulfilled as God pronounced through the prophets. All of Judahites were compared by him as a virgin who was beaten up to death.
They must face two terrible afflictions at the same time which were war and famine, as the prophet said, “If I walk out into the field, look! Those slain by the sword; If I enter the city, look! Those consumed by hunger.” When facing suffering, they recognized that God has truly forshaken them. Before, they didn’t think God shall given them up by let the enemies from the north destroy the temple Jerusalem, God’s sacred house where He dwelt in it. Now, all what the prophets had announced were fulfilled. What prophet Jeremiah said in today passage only reminded them of what had told them through the prophets’ mouth: “Have you cast Judah off completely? Is Zion loathsome to you? Why have you struck us a blow that cannot be healed? We wait for peace, to no avail; for a time of healing, but terror comes instead.”
1.2/ The Israelites recognized the truth.
(1) They recognized their sins: Before, they thought God only threatened them; they didn’t think that they must bear the consequences of their wicked acts; now they experienced the results of sins and God’s words. They confessed their sins, “We recognize, O Lord, our wickedness, the guilt of our fathers; that we have sinned against you.”
However, they still have a hope in what God promised through their forefathers and prophets. God shall save and protect them if they repent and return. Therefore, they called out to God: “For your name’s sake spurn us not, disgrace not the throne of your glory; remember your covenant with us, and break it not.”
(2) They recognized God’s power: The prophet continued to report, “Among the nations’ idols is there any that gives rain? Or can the mere heavens send showers? Is it not you alone, O Lord, our God, to whom we look? You alone have done all these things.” This verse supposed Judah had a famine. As in the prophet Elijah’s time, when the Israelites became rich because of good harvests; they didn’t think God blessed them by giving them rain for their crops. They gave credits for Baal and their own effort. To open the Israelites’ eyes, Elijah commanded to close the heaven’s doors for three years in which there were no rain nor dew. The results are: there were no harvests; their cattles died because there were no grass; people also died because of hungry and thirsty. Jeremiah also pronounced that when people were hungry and thirsty, they must open their eyes to recognize God’s power.
2/ Gospel: “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”
2.1/ The allegorical meaning of the parable of the weeds: The evangelist reported, “Then, dismissing the crowds, he went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”” There aren’t many parables who had so many allegorical meanings as the parable of the weeds which was explained by Jesus himself.
(1) The One who sows good seeds: is the Son of Man, Christ himself.
(2) The one who sows bad seeds: is the devil who oppose God.
(3) The field: is the world. Many people compared the world as the battlefied between good and evil.
(4) The good seeds: are God’s children who want to live according to the truth and the good.
(5) The weeds: are the devil’s children who refuse to live according to God’s teaching.
(6) The harvest: As the harvest shall come to farmers, the Last Day shall certain come to human beings.
(7) The harvesters: are angels.
2.2/ The Last Day shall come: The main point in the parable of the weeds is the devil’s presense in human life. They compete with God to draw people to themselves; but they only can do that until the Last Day. In that Day, the devil and his children shall be destroyed for ever, as Jesus declared today: “Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.”
(1) The fate of the devil and his children: “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
(2) The fate of God’s children: “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We must be responsible for all of our human acts. We shouldn’t ignore any human act even though it is small.
– A review of the history of humankind, family and individual shall help us to be careful in making our decisions. Don’t blindly make them because they shall come back and hurt us.