A detail from tomorrow’s reading at Mass will be missed by many people because of the translation of “tares” as “weeds”. Most people don’t know that this particular kind of weed called “tares” actually looks just like wheat.
When they are first growing together they are both green and they are very hard to tell apart. However, when the wheat ripens it turns golden brown but the seeds of the tares become black green. The head of the wheat burgeons and becomes ripe. The head of the tares stalk remains small and turns black and if eaten, is poisonous–they symptoms of the poison are like drunkenness and the poison can even be deadly.
Therefore the parable is much more profound than just “wheat and weeds”. The tares look just like the wheat so it is impossible to tell one from the others, and yet it is not only unfruitful, but poisonous.
So it is with false religion. It grows in the church alongside the real thing and it is often hard to tell one from the other. After all, a counterfeit is designed to look like the real thing. It is interesting that Jesus says in the parable that it is the devil who sows the tares in the field. So in the church the devil is busy all the time sowing the tares of false religion. He’s always trying to create a counterfeit faith, a religion that looks like the real thing, but which is a lie.
Let me give you a hint on how to sniff out the counterfeit. Real religion is always penitent. The counterfeits cannot and do not repent. They are unable to apologize or accept apologies. This is because they are proud and a proud person cannot apologize because he really thinks he has nothing to apologize for. Nor an he accept an apology and offer forgiveness because he believes that he is owed an apology so to offer forgiveness is un necessary.
Watch out for these people. Very often they will appear very pious and will appear to be doing the Lord’s work. They will often appear to be doing the Lord’s work with a great show of what seems to be humility, poverty and simplicity. They will often be seen to be doing all sorts of good work and will seem to be the A number one disciple of Jesus. But beware. They are tares among the wheat.
You needn’t try to weed them out. Just wait for the judgment day. Then all things will be harvested and everything that is hidden will be revealed.