19.6.17

The wheat and the tares, the Church and the anti-church (1): genesis

24. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25. But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field; from whence then hath it tares? 28. He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29. But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers,Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."

Mt 13, 24-30

In the Catena Aurea, St. Thomas Aquinas collected the comments of the Fathers of the Church on the parable of the wheat and the tares .

This is what they taugth us about the anti-church:

  1. The good seed was planted by Jesus
  2. Remig.: Here He calls the Son of God Himself the kingdom of heaven; for He saith, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that sowed good seed in his field.”
  3. Our Sheppards were negligent...
  4. Aug., Quaest in Matt., q. 11: He says, “While men slept,” for... the heads of the Church were abiding in supineness ...;
    Chrys.: ...heretics at first keep themselves in the shade; but when they have had long license, and when men have held communication with them in discourse, then they pour forth their venom.
    Jerome: ...let not him sleep that is set over the Church, lest through his carelessness the enemy should sow therein tares, that is, the dogmas of the heretics.
  5. ... and the devil had the bad seed planted...
  6. Aug., Quaest in Matt., q. 11: ... then came the Devil and sowed upon the rest those whom the Lord in His interpretation calls evil children.
    Chrys.: ... the Devil sees somewhat to imitate... Therefore because he... saw that this man bears fruit an hundred, this sixty, and this thirtyfold, and that he was not able to carry off or to choke that which had taken root, he turns to other insidious practices, mixing up his own seed, which is a counterfeit of the true, and thereby imposes upon such as are prone to be deceived. So the parable speaks, not of another seed, but of tares which bear a great likeness to wheat corn. ... 
  7. .... by anti-prophets, anti-apostles and anti-christ.
  8. Chrys.: ... the false prophets came after the Prophets, the false apostles after the Apostles, and Antichrist after Christ. ...
    Aug.: ...when he found that he had no power in open warfare against a Master of such great name, he had introduced his fallacies under cover of that name itself...
  9. The bad seed was planted after the wheat … [or in other words the bad seeds are novelties]
  10. Chrys.: ...He here shews that error arose after truth... the malignity of the Devil is shewn in this, that he sowed when all else was completed, that he might do the greater hurt to the husbandman.
    Aug., Quaest in Matt., q. 11... When then the Devil had sown upon the true Church divers evil errors and false opinions; that is to say, where Christ’s name had gone before, there he scattered errors...
  11. The seeds sprang and generated (at first silent) heretics and schismatics inside the Church [what I call the anti-church]
  12. Chrys., Hom., xlvi: "... the Lord spoke ... here of those who receive a corrupting seed... He more particularly draws the picture of an heretic, in the words, “When the blade grew, and put forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.” For heretics at first keep themselves in the shade; but when they have had long license, and when men have held communication with them in discourse, then they pour forth their venom."
    Aug., Quaest in Matt., q. 11: ... we do well to enquire whether by such are meant heretics, or Catholics who lead evil lives. That He says, that they were sown among the wheat, seems to point out that they were all of one communion... Indeed it is not necessary that every heretic or schismatic should be corporally severed from the Church; for the Church bears many who do not so publicly defend their false opinions as to attract the attention of the multitude, which when they do, then are they expelled. ...When then the Devil ... sown upon the true Church divers evil errors and false opinions; ... Though indeed in this parable, as we learn from His own interpretation, the Lord may be understood to have signified under the name of tares all stumbling-blocks and such as work iniquity.

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