The workers are eager to get rid of the weeds in their employer’s field, but he counsels patience.  Both the weeds and the wheat are growing, and it isn’t entirely clear how they will develop.

Although Our Lord applies this parable to both righteous and evil individuals, we can just as easily apply it to the good and evil tendencies sprouting in our own hearts.  There are so many grey areas when it comes to our inner lives that it can be difficult to discern which seeds we should cultivate and which ones we should try to uproot.  Today Our Lord gives us an important clue: he encourages us to take a look at the way our words, actions, and thoughts affect the people around us.

Parents and teachers learn this by observing the effect they have on young children.  Small children imitate their parents and other adults in so many ways.  They copy facial expressions and habitual gestures.  I’m sure many adults are horrified to hear a child use a swearword or a complaining tone that sounds eerily like themselves.  This can be a humbling experience, and be the cause of some changes in one’s language, attitude and lifestyle.

The opposite of causing others to sin is helping them to grow in holiness.  We want our children to learn kindness, honesty, and generosity from us, and we work hard to make that happen.  Children don’t always see it, but it’s there.  It was probably similar for Ss. Joachim and Anne.  Their prayerfulness, their humility, and their openness to God clearly affected the life of their daughter.  How else could Our Lady have found the courage to give a wholehearted yes to the angel’s invitation?

We all know people who have or had that kind of positive effect on us.  Let us thank God for such people, and may we imitate their example as we endeavour to be a good example for others.

Ss. Joachim and Anne + Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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