The gospel text for this Sunday is another parable (and its explanation) from Matthew 13--this time the 'Parable of the Weeds'. And there is both the frightening and comforting phrase within it. That phrase is when the master of the house says this regarding the weeds and the wheat: 'Let both grow together... (Matt 13:30).'
The master is letting the weeds and the wheat grow together. That is both frightening and comforting.
It is frightening, first of all, in that the weeds are allowed to grow. Jesus explains that the weeds are the sons of the evil one. And he is not only letting them exist; he is letting them grow!
Sadly enough, this can be easily seen. Even more disappointing is that this can also be seen inside some churches these days. After the ecumenical movement of the last century, some churches have ended up having very similar beliefs to those who are already outside the church. To some, a church is a place that makes them feel better. But it could be so much more.
Allowing for the continued growth among the weeds hopefully makes the wheat even more quickly rely on something outside of themselves for help. Our words basically do not amount to anything. The words of God make eternal differences.
A wonderfully comforting thought is also found within Matthew 13:30, that the children of the kingdom are growing as well. God always grants growth to his Church. Certainly it may not seem like it at times--especially when it comes to numerical growth, but there is always growth when his Law and his Gospel are spoken to his people.
Having both the weeds and the wheat grow together, and having God deal gently with his people--by removing the weeds at the end and not any earlier--that focuses the action of God more on his love than his power. That is what we have seen with the way he dealt with Israel in the Old Testament and with Jesus in the New.
God is in charge; we are not. And the way in which he is in charge is extremely comforting to those who are his, who are listening to his words.