|Miguel Garcia ’03
A close friend of mine is an organic farmer. He started his organic farm with the hope of providing local, ethical, sustainable produce to people who care about their food. Like all farmers, he is always concerned about things that are out of his direct control (mainly weather related issues) but his worries are compounded by the small scale of his operation and his rigorous commitment to organic, non-GMO practices.
Most commercial farming relies on herbicides and pesticides to make large scale food production efficient and profitable. GMO (genetically modified organism) crops are even genetically engineered so that they can be sprayed with broad spectrum herbicides. These chemicals kill all plants they touch, except for the ones with the genetic modifications. For most farmers, weeding is a thing of the past.
But on a small organic farm, weeding is very much essential. Any time that I’ve been able to help out on the farm, that is what I’ve done. In this gospel passage, the master’s concern of disturbing the wheat by pulling the weeds certainly resonates with me. Many times have I brought up a young beet or a tender carrot as I have mistaken their greens for weeds.
In the gospel reading, the wheat and the weeds represent our final judgement. The weeds cannot be removed while they are growing and are sent to the fire after the harvest. But this passage makes me think of my whole life as a garden that I grow for God. There are things I wish to cultivate and things that must be removed. Weeding is tedious, thankless, repetitive, daily work. Even when it is done well it must be done again and again, forever on into the future. But, the work can be rewarding and doing it makes me stronger. Of course, this is the nature of confronting my own sinfulness. There is no broad spectrum herbicide for sin. Each sin must be found and rooted out individually. I will be weeding the garden of my life until the day I die. In the end, I hope that my faith has produced a good harvest that has fed many. And I hope that my many weeds will be cast aside so that I might be gathered into the master’s barn.
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