Many people had come to hear Jesus preach, so he decided to speak from a spot where everyone could see him. Since he was on the shore of the sea, he climbed into a boat and sat down. The crowd of people stood along the shore.
“The kingdom of heaven,” Jesus said, “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 … 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?’”
Jesus looked at the crowd. He had been watching their faces as they listened to his stories. Then he continued. “He answered, ‘An enemy has done this. … Let (the wheat and the weeds) 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.” ‘ “
Jesus could hear people whispering and murmuring to each other as they wondered about the meaning of his story. He held up his hand to get their attention.
Then he started another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person … sowed in a field.” Jesus knew that not everyone could see his hands, but he used them to help illustrate the size of the mustard seed and the tree that it becomes. “It is the smallest of all the seeds,” he continued, “yet when full-grown it is the largest of all plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’”
Jesus knew that many of the people would recognize the words from the writings of the prophet Ezekiel. After telling other parables, Jesus later went to a house where he could be alone with his disciples. Even they wondered about the meaning of the stories Jesus had told that day. So Jesus tried to explain it to them. “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one.”
READ MORE ABOUT IT: Matthew 13
1. Why did Jesus preach from a boat?
2. What did the good seed represent?
The people of biblical times were very resourceful. They learned how to make use of every part of the plants that grew in the region. In addition to the edible products, they created fabric from fibers and made medicine, dyes and cosmetics.
Aloe was used for healing and cleansing. The resin from balm was used as a medicine as well as for its fragrance. Bulrush, a reed, was used to make paper, and some of the other reeds served as writing instruments.
Cumin, dill and mustard were common spices. Pomegranates are shrubs that produce a red fruit that was used for its juice, which could also be made into wine. Three important fruits were figs, olives and grapes, which are mentioned in a many stories in the Bible.
Famine and drought were always a threat to survival, so some of the plants were dried in order to be stored and used in the future.
Benedict, who lived in the 6th century, was sent to Rome by his family when he was in his teens. They hoped he would receive a good education in the big city. But Benedict did not like the undisciplined lifestyles he saw and left the city with a nurse who had accompanied him. He wanted to follow God through a solitary vocation.
After making friends with a monk named Romanus, Benedict spent three years in a cave praying and meditating. Romanus would bring him food every day. Word of his devotion spread, and young men who wanted to follow him came to visit him.
From these followers Benedict founded his first monasteries. Later he went to a marshy, overgrown plain in Monte Cassino, where he established two chapels. He attracted new followers there as well because of his charity, piety and wisdom. Many miracles were attributed to him.
He died in 547 in the company of his friends and followers. We honor him on July 11.