The Parable of the Wheat & the Weeds: A Magna Carta for Dissent & Heresy?

November 2004

We received a letter from William S. Murray in Wilmington, Delaware. Here it is:

With reference to the failure of Pope John Paul II to discipline dissenters and wayward bishops: Could it be that he’s following the pattern in the Parable of the Weeds (Mt. 13:24-30)?

After all, the edict against judgment (Mt. 7:1-5) is quite clear about the necessity of forgiving our “brother” unlimited times (Mt. 18:21-22).

As for the victims of our “brother’s” transgressions, I can find no mention or concern.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to excuse the Pope’s inaction, but rather to understand it.

Your comments would be appreciated.

Mr. Murray’s letter calls for an extensive response.

You can find Matthew 13:24-30 in the Lectionary at the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle A). One could easily get the impression from it that the Pope should practice a laissez-faire policy toward dissenters and wayward bishops. However, what’s presented in the Lectionary is the “Shorter Form,” which omits Jesus’ explanation of what the Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds actually means. This is truly inexcusable, as is the “Shorter Form” of Ephesians 5:21-32, which omits the words of St. Paul that “Wives should be subordinate to their husbands…” and stating the reasons for that (vv. 22-24), while including what St. Paul says about a husband’s duty to his wife (see “When the ‘Shorter Form’ Is the Politically Correct Form,” New Oxford Notes, Jan. 2003). It’s so obvious that certain of the Lectionary compilers want to mislead the faithful.

As for Matthew 13, the “Longer Form” (vv. 24-43) does give Jesus’ explanation, but without that explanation the faithful will be led astray. Gosh, even the disciples were puzzled by the Parable, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field” (v. 36).

So, first we will quote Matthew 13:24-30 from the Lectionary:

Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his 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 him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ He 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.”’” (Mt. 13:24-30)


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New Oxford Notes: November 2004

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