Our Desk | The wheat and the tares

Renato Marques

In Matthew 13 of the Holy Bible, it is said that Jesus taught the now-famous parable of the wheat and the tares.
For those who are not so familiar with country life, tares are a kind of weed that resemble wheat but unlike wheat, do not produce anything that we can profitably use.
In the story, something causes the seeds of the weeds to be sown mixed in with the wheat, deliberately polluting the landlord’s wheat field.
Since the plants are very similar, especially in their early stages, the problem of the tares mixed with the wheat became clear only after the plants were fully grown.
The inability to distinguish the good plants from the bad ones made it too complex for the landlord’s servants to separate them until the plants became fully mature and were ready to be harvested.
This parable has provoked several different interpretations; while some say that it refers to the separation of good and evil, others have gone deeper blame it on the circumstances (the quality of the soil).
I am certainly not here to discuss the Holy Bible, but like many other great books which are more or less holy, rich metaphoric speech allows us to apply some of the conclusions to aspects of our lives, timelessly.
In a similar way, Covid-19, especially the aftermath, has highlighted many situations and even parables that we can easily compare to ancient writings.
Let us do a simple exercise: if Macau was that wheat field, what in this region would represent the wheat and what would be the tares? Who represents the weeds that pollute our productive field?
Keeping this story in mind, who are the landowners? How about the servants? Who, due to their incompetence and lack of knowledge, might have been mixing the wheat and the tares in the barn, crop after crop?
But wait. What if the servants are not just keeping the tares in the barn together with the wheat, but they are also burning away the wheat thinking that it is tares? Isn’t this even more damaging?
At this moment, you are probably thinking of a million ways to put faces in all these characters. And guess what, they always fit, don’t they?
Aside from the large number of parables we could write using this point, that is not the most important part of this story to me.
To me, what is important is that in times of crisis (any type of crisis) we can see things and details, that were previously concealed and blurred by the bigger picture.
Maybe Covid-19 can also give brand-new meaning to a similar quote by Oscar Wilde: “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
Who would have thought that this could apply to a surgical mask?
Maybe if we are “forced” to wear these protective masks due to Covid-19 for long enough, we will be able to see some more of people’s real faces. Some have already started creeping out from the shadows and are using several means, including the Internet, to do what they call “spreading hope.” Unfortunately, if that “hope” is hopeless, maybe they are not only sowing tares, but also harvesting them and storing them in the barn of their neighbor.
When hope is hopeless, I say spreading it is nothing more than polluting minds and fostering deceptions.

Categories Opinion