Community of Tampa | St. Pete | Florida

Fragile Gifts

Matthew 13:24-30

There was once an elderly and wise man who moved to a village and began living there for a time. He would always spend his time with the kids of the village and everyone loved him dearly. He also used to give gifts to the kids of the village. The gifts were always very exquisite but fragile. As much as the kids were striving to be careful with the gifts, they always ended up breaking them and ended up in tears. Every time the children broke their toys the old man gave them a new one; a toy more fragile and more beautiful. Once the parents of the children wanted to know the purpose of this and asked the old man saying, “You are a wise man and you always want everyone to be happy, why then you give fragile gifts to our children and every time when they break them you give them even more beautiful and fragile ones? “Unfortunately, it is impossible not to play with those gifts because of their uniqueness.” The wise man responded saying, “Not so many years will pass from today and your children will understand that God endowed them with spiritual purity and a fragile soul. I want them to understand how easy it might be to fall into sin and lose the purity God gives us.”  

In today’s Gospel reading Christ tells us that the kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted, and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. Today’s parable is about the two kinds of people in the world. Jesus explained that the landowner was an illustration of the “Son of Man, “that is, the divine King. We know ‘Son of Man’ was a title that Jesus often used for Himself. The field is the world; it belongs to the Son, and was originally meant to be a place for the flourishing of God’s beloved mankind. The good seed that Jesus Christ sows are the sons of the kingdom, while the weeds are the sons of the evil one. In these two examples, the word son is used to describe someone who reflects the characteristics of what they are called the son of—either the son of the kingdom of heaven or the son of the evil one. The harvest is the judgment of mankind at the end of the age. The reapers are the angels sent by God to bring both kinds of people before His judgment seat. There, the sons of the evil one will be condemned to Hell, but the sons of the kingdom will “shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” 

In today’s reading, Jesus simply begins with the two kinds of people. The Son of God plants His children throughout the world, and the evil one does the same with those that belong to him, in order to cause trouble. We often wonder why God allows evil people to thrive in the world. This parable teaches that God does not root them out, because He is concerned for His followers and their spiritual well-being. Instead, He allows both kinds of people to continue until the judgment at the end of the world. Only then, He will finally separate them. At that time, those who are not His children will be cast “into a furnace of fire,” a terrible place of great weeping. But the other group of people, those who belong to God, will be recognized as sons of the kingdom of heaven.  

Nevertheless, the teaching of today’s Parable is of the greatest importance. Much of the world lies in the grip of the evil one, and their condition is hidden even from themselves. Therefore, God has called His servants to another task—to show compassion and love to all, especially to those who call themselves Christians. We are sent out with a message of hope to a dying world, to a world that, very soon, may be approaching the end of the age. That message is that God loves all men, no matter to which of the two groups we may belong. He became a Man, Jesus Christ, to die for all of our sins so that if we gratefully accept His sacrifice on our behalf, we will find ourselves in that blessed group, which, in the end of time, will shine like the sun in the kingdom of our Father.  

In today’s story, we see that the old man used to give to the children of the village very exquisite but yet fragile gifts. Whenever they broke them he gave them newer, more beautiful ones. In the same way, God sows in us purity, love, hope, compassion and other virtues. He wants to see that we cherish those virtues and reach spiritual purity. And we lose them each time we fall into sin, but God has also given us the choice to repent and attain those virtues once again. And when He restores those virtues for us we are renewed. We become renewed again with His love. We become renewed again with his compassion. And we become renewed again with his purity. All these things are fragile, delicate, precious gifts. And we have the sacred task to not just use them for ourselves, but for each other, so we may bring that love and purity, that compassion and empathy back into our world which is in desperate need of them. Amen.

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