Young people with Pope Francis during the Angelus prayer. Photo: Vatican Media

How Can We Clean Up the Darnel in the Field of Our Heart? The Pope Answers

Allocution of the Angelus prayer.

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(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 07.23.2023).-  On Sunday, July 23, some 20,000 people accompanied the Holy Father in the recitation of the Marian Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square. Hours before midday, Pope Francis went to the Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica on the occasion of the 3rd World Day of Grandparents and Elderly. 

Here is the Pontiff’s Sunday address, which focused as usual on Sunday’s Gospel.

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Today’s Gospel offers us the parable of the wheat and the weeds (cf. Matthew 13:24-43). A farmer, who has sown good seed in his field, discovers that an enemy by night has sown darnel in it, a plant that looks very similar to wheat, but is a weed.

In this way, Jesus talks about our world, which in effect is like a large field, where God sows wheat and the Evil One sows darnel, and therefore good and bad grow together. Good and bad grow together. We see this from the news, in society, and even in the family and in the Church. And when, along with the good wheat, we see bad weeds, we want to tear them up immediately, to make a “clean sweep.” But today the Lord warns us that to do this is a temptation: one cannot create a perfect world, and one cannot do good by hastily destroying what is bad, because this has even worse effects: one ends up, as we say, “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”

There is, however, a second field where we can clean up: it is the field of our heart, the only one where we can intervene directly. There, too, there is wheat and darnel; indeed, it is precisely from there that both of them expand into the great field of the world. Brothers and sisters, our heart, in fact, is the field of freedom: it is not a sterile laboratory, but rather an open and, therefore, vulnerable space. To cultivate it properly, it is necessary on the one hand to take constant care of the delicate shoots of goodness, and on the other, to identify and uproot the weeds, at the right moment. So let us look within and examine what happens a little, what is growing in me, what grows in me that is good and evil. There is a good method for this: it is the examination of conscience, which is seeing what happened today in my life, what struck my heart and which decisions I made. And this serves precisely to verify, in the light of God, where the bad weeds and the good seed are.

After the field of the world, and the field of the heart, there is a third field. We can call it the neighbour’s field. They are the people we associate with every day, and whom we often judge. How easy it is to recognize their weeds, how we like to “flay” others! And how difficult it is, instead, to know how to see the good grain that is growing! Let us remember, though, that if we want to cultivate the fields of life, it is important to seek first and foremost the work of God: to learn to see the beauty of what the Lord has sown, the sun-kissed wheat with its golden ears, in others, in the world and in ourselves. Brothers and sisters, let us ask for the grace to be able to see it in ourselves, but also in others, starting from those close to us. It is not a naïve perspective; it is a believing one, because God, the Farmer of the great field of the world, loves to see goodness and to make it grow to make the harvest a feast!

So today too, we can ask ourselves some questions. Thinking of the field of the world: do I know how to resist the temptation to “bundle all the grass together,” to sweep others aside with my judgments? Then, thinking of the field of the heart: am I honest in seeking out the bad weeds in myself, and decisive in throwing them into the fire of God’s mercy? And, thinking of the neighbour’s field: do I have the wisdom to see what is good without being discouraged by the limitations and limits of others?

May the Virgin Mary help us to cultivate patiently what the Lord sows in the field of life, in my field, in my neighbour’s, in everyone’s field.

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