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Home Sections The Daily B.R.E.A.D. The Cockle of False Doctrine: The Relevance of the Parable of the Weeds
The Cockle of False Doctrine: The Relevance of the Parable of the Weeds PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - The Daily B.R.E.A.D.
Saturday, 19 July 2008 06:06

In the Gospel of today’s Mass Our Lord teaches us the parable of the wheat and the cockle (Matt 13:24-43). The world is like a field where God is continually sowing the seed of his grace; this divine seed takes root in the soul and produces fruits of holiness. Jesus offers us his grace with such wonderful love! For him each of us is unique, and in order to redeem us He did not hesitate to assume our human nature. He prepared us like good soil and bestowed upon us his saving doctrine. But while men were sleeping his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.


The weed in question -- cockle-seed -- is a plant that is often found growing in cereal crops in the Middle East. It resembles wheat so closely that even to the farmer’s practiced eye it is impossible to tell the two plants apart until the stalks begin to mature, at which stage the cockle can be recognized by its slender ear and emaciated grain; it is quite toxic to humans, and if mixed with flour will ruin bread (cf F. Prat, Jesus Christ). Sowing cockle among the wheat was a form of revenge not unheard of in those countries. Periodic plagues of cockle were very much feared by the peasants, because they could cause them to lose their entire harvest.

The Fathers of the Church have understood the cockle to be a metaphor for false doctrine (cf St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on St Matthew, 47; St. Augustine, in Caiena Aurea), which is not easy to distinguish from the truth, above all at the beginning, because it is proper to the devil to mix falsehood with truth (St. John Chrysostom, in Catena Aurea); and if error is allowed to flourish it always has catastrophic effects on the people of God.

This parable has lost none of its relevance nowadays: we can see that many Christians have fallen asleep and have allowed the enemy to sow bad seed with total impunity. There is practically no truth of the Catholic Faith which hasn’t been called into question. We have to be very careful indeed, both with ourselves and with anybody we are responsible for, in the whole area of magazines, television, books and newspapers, all of which can be a real source of false doctrine and which require us to make a special effort to look after our on-going formation in the doctrinal area.

If we are to be faithful to all the requirements of the Christian vocation we have to be constantly watchful and not let ourselves be caught off guard, because once false doctrine manages to take root in the soul it quickly gives rise to sterility and to estrangement from God. We need to be watchful too in the area of our affections, and not fool ourselves with excuses about how at our time of life ‘things don’t affect us’; and we should be careful also about the effect of such false ideas on those whom God has entrusted to our care.

 

With permission from Scepter UK.  Short excerpt from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez.  
 
Available at SinagTala or Totus Bookstore 723-4326 or at  www.totusbookstore.cominfo@totusbookstore.com


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Last Updated on Saturday, 19 July 2008 06:34
 

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