Everybody likes a good story. I love talking to my grandpa and hearing him tell stories of times he went fishing or hunting—times when he used to live in Arkansas. Things he did when he was young, how he met my grandma, being retired and taking his RV cross-country. He has a story for everything and to hear him tell it you can’t help but be taken in by his whit and fun-loving spirit. We are suckers for stories. We enjoy seeing life play out through the lens of another’s experience especially in ways that help bring out values or virtues that are needed in our lives. Jesus’ use of parables hones in on this truth and offers us a multi-faceted way to dig deeper into our faith making it more than just a story but a way of life.
The weeds and the wheat: I almost dislike weeds as much as I do flies if only you could swat weeds and they would die, but whether you pull them out or spray them…they just seem to reappear out of nowhere. Yet to have the produce of a harvestable grain right next the fuzz of a dandelion or the prickles of a thistle can cause a farmer to want to take drastic measures in caring for his crop. However he is helpless because if he were to do anything with these uninvited nutrient suckers he would in turn damage the very thing he was trying to protect. So he simply is left with taking things as they go until harvest time and then at that point—doing what he can to salvage his production.
In the second parable when Jesus speaks of the mustard seed and when given the right conditions it will grows in abundance. The necessities of water and sunshine cannot be produced by the seed itself but are independent and yet essential to its development for it being more than what it is on its own. Similarly from our 3rd parable of our Gospel: the yeast mixed in with the flour causes a reaction that when these things are combined a growth or rising occurs.
All these stories stand alone with applicable meaning for our lives but maybe when taken together there is a thread that can be seen which offers us an insight into our life of faith. The reality is faith and trust are deeply connect in fact in Fr. Michael Gaitley’s book 33 Days to Merciful Love while looking at the works of St. Therese and St. Faustina he uses them interchangeably. To have faith we must trust in God. What that entails is a surrender of control of us wanting to be the one that makes things happen. We have to learn how to stand back and
allow God to be our true provider. We are the seed that on our own we are small and insignificant yet God knows all that we need to grow to our fullest potential and when we receive the fertilizer of His love and grace big things happen. This dynamic is life lived both with struggles and with joys with sorrows and pains and purpose and vision. The weeds and the wheat of our everyday goings and comings what we experience physically and spiritually all contribute to a full faith that calls us to be consistent in our prayer, in our love, and our devotion to our Creator seeing God as really and truly there in the thick and the thin.
Our faith is elevated when given the opportunity to trust in God rather than our own abilities. Something rises in us when that grace is activated within through prayer. The thread uniting these 3 stories told by our Savior is perhaps the interplay between God who’s ways are not our ways and our call to trust in Him, to take our faith and submit it to the glory of His providence. All of us have situations in our life that are bigger than us and it is through prayer and faith that we can allow God to be God and me His little seed, his humble child. When we do this growth occurs, grace is recognized and both the highs and the lows, the WOAHs and the WOWs are all seen in the context that life is better when I let God have control AND that the story of my life is a continuation of THIS GOSPEL as I allow God to be my story teller.