The parable in today’s Gospel compares the world to a field of grain with some weeds growing up with the wheat. The master told the servant not to try pulling out the weeds. He said that in doing that the servant would inevitably pull up some wheat, and damage the crop. It is a good parable in that it tells us that for now God seems to let people get away with being evil, but in the end they will be punished. There is a flaw in the parable. People are not weeds that can never turn into anything better. No, unlike weeds, they are able to change. They can become valuable people.
In the first reading Jeremiah said, “Put no trust in the deceitful words, ‘This is the temple of the Lord! The temple of the Lord! The temple of the Lord!”
What he referred to there was a superstitious habit that had taken hold in Jerusalem. People had stopped frequenting the temple to speak with God and to bring their behavior in line with his commands. Instead they had gotten into the habit of only knocking three times on the temple gates while they repeated that mantra: “The temple of the Lord! The temple of the Lord!”
What was behind that was a promise God had made to David three hundred years before. He had promised, “Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever.”
People mistook that promise to mean that God would let them get away with anything. Knocking on the temple gate reminded them of that promise, and hopefully it reminded God of it too.