He proposed another parable to them. "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."'"
Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB
Commentary of the day :
Saint John Chrysostom (c.345-407), priest at Antioch then Bishop of Constantinople, Doctor of the Church
Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Mathieu, 46, 1-2
It is always the devil's way to mix the truth with errors draped in the outward appearance and hues of truth, in such a way as more easily to lead astray those who permit themselves to be deceived. That is why Our Lord only speaks of weeds since these are plants that look like wheat. He then describes how he goes about deceiving «while people are sleeping». From this we see the serious danger run by leaders, especially those to whom has been entrusted the care of the field. Moreover, this danger does not only threaten leaders but their subordinates too. And this also shows us how error follows truth... Christ tells us this to teach us not to fall asleep..., from which there arises the need of vigilant watching. Which is why he said: «Whoever stands firm to the end will be saved» (Mt 10,22)...
Now consider the servants' zeal: they want to collect the weeds at once. Even if they fall short in reflexion this does at least prove their care for the harvest. They are only concerned about one thing: not to avenge themselves on the one who had sown the weeds but to save the harvest – hence they attempt to get rid of the evil altogether... What does the Lord say then?... He stops them for two reasons: first, from fear of harming the wheat; second, the conviction that punishment will inevitably strike down those afflicted by this mortal sickness. If we want them to be punished without the harvest suffering from it, let us wait for the proper moment... Moreover, perhaps some portion of those weeds will be turned into wheat? So if you pull them up now you will damage the future harvest by pulling up the ones that may change to something better.