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From the Explanation of the Epistles and Gospels by Father Leonard Goffine (1880)
Imprimatur: Rt. Rev. Joseph F. Mooney, V.G. September 28, 1918

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

GOSPEL. (Matt. XIII. 24-30)
At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to the multitudes:
The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seed in his field. But while
men were asleep, his enemy came, and oversowed cockle among the wheat, and went his
way. And when the blade was sprung up, and had brought forth fruit, then appeared also
the cockle. And the servants of the good man of the house coming, said to him: Sir, didst
thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence, then, hath it cockle? And he said to them:
An enemy bath done this. And the servants said to him: Wilt thou that we go and gather it
up? And he said: No, lest perhaps, gathering up the cockle, you root up the wheat also
together with it. Suffer both to grow until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will
say to the reapers: Gather up first the cockle, and bind it into bundles to burn, but the
wheat gather ye into my barn.

What is understood by the kingdom of heaven?
The Church of God, or the collection of all orthodox Christians on earth, destined for

What is meant by the good seed, and by the cockle?
The good seed, as Christ Himself says, (Matt. XIII. 38) signifies the children of the
kingdom, that is, the true Christians, the living members of the Church, who being
converted by the word of God sown into their hearts become children of God, and bring
forth the fruit of good works. The cockle means the children of iniquity, of the devil, that
is, those who do evil; also every wrong, false doctrine which leads men to evil.

Who sows the good seed?
The good seed is sown by Jesus, the Son of Man not only directly, but through His
apostles, and the priests, their successors; the evil seed is sown by the devil, or by wicked
men whom he uses as his tools.

Who are the men who were asleep?
Those superiors in the Church; those bishops and pastors who take no care of their flock,
and do not warn them against seduction, when the devil comes and by wicked men sows
the cockle of erroneous doctrine and of crime; and those men who are careless and neglect
to hear the word of God and the sacrifice of the Mass, who neglect to pray, and do not
receive the Sacraments. In the souls of such the devil sows the seeds of bad thoughts, evil
imaginations and desires, from which spring, later, the cockle of pride, impurity, anger,
envy, avarice, etc.

Why does not God allow the cockle, that is, the wicked people, to be rooted out and
Because of His patience and long suffering towards the sinner to whom He gives time for
repentance, and because of His love for the just from whom He would not, by weeding out
the unjust, take away the occasion of practicing virtue and gathering up merits for
themselves; for because of the unjust, the just have numerous opportunities to exercise
patience, humility, etc.

When is the time of the harvest?
The day of the last judgment when the reapers, that is, the angels, will go out and separate
the wicked from the just, and throw the wicked into the fiery furnace; while the just will be
taken into everlasting joy. (Matthew xiii. 29)

PRAYER. O faithful Jesus, Thou great lover of our souls, who hast sown the good seed
of Thy Divine Word in our hearts, grant that it may be productive, and bear in us fruit for
eternal life; protect us from our evil enemy, that he may not sow his erroneous and false
doctrine in our hearts, and corrupt the good; preserve us from the sleep of sin, and sloth
that we may remain always vigilant and armed against the temptations of the world, the
flesh, and the devil, overcome them manfully, and die a happy death. Amen.

Whence then hath it cockle? (Matthew xiii. 27.)

Whence comes the inclination to evil in man?
It is the sad consequence of original sin, that is, of that sin which our first parents, by their
disobedience, committed in paradise, and which we as their descendants have inherited.
This inclination to evil remains even in those who have been baptized, although original
sin with its guilt and eternal punishment is taken away in baptism, but it is no sin so long
as man does not voluntarily yield. (Cat. Rom. Part. II. 2. .43.)

Why, the sin being removed, does the inclination remain?
To humble us that we may know our frailty and misery, and have recourse to God, our
best and most powerful Father, as did St. Paul, when he was much annoyed by the devil of
the flesh; (II. Cor. XII. 7. 8.) that the glory of God and the power of Christ should be
manifested in us, which except for our weakness could not be; that we might have
occasion to fight and to conquer. A soldier cannot battle without opposition, nor win
victory and the crown without a contest. Nor can we win the heavenly crown, if no
occasion is given us, by temptations, for fight and for victory. “That which tries the
combatant,” says St. Bernard, “crowns the conqueror.” Finally, the inclination remains,
that we may learn to endure, in all meekness, the faults and infirmities of others and to
watch ourselves, lest we fall into the same temptations.