Sunday's Gospel tells the parables of the good seed and the weeds. The Master refuses to tear out the weeds to protect the wheat growing among them. Luckily, we are not limited in the same way. By identifying and separating the weeds from the wheat in our lives, we can avoid being choked out or overgrown by them.
What is a weed? A weed is a person with a negative influence on your life. It is your neighbor you can't help but compete with, your frenemy, the coworker who you always end up drinking more than you planned with, the person who brings out your gossipy side, and so on. Weeding out those bad influences is rarely easy. Oftentimes, these people are friends or acquaintances that we enjoy spending time with.
How do we weed in our lives? By removing those that prevent us from getting closer to God. Friendships are not meant to be contentious; you don't have to remain friends with the girl from high school who you still feel the need to compete with. You can still work and get along with your drinking buddy, but step back from the socializing after work. Avoid opportunities to gossip, to compare; if it cause you to sin, cut it off. Think of how much more positive your life would be without the unnecessary, negative impacts week by week! Simply by choosing to remove those influences that really prevent you from walking closer with God.
But what about my good friends, who may sometimes do negative things? Pray for them. Ask God to help the two of you root your friendship more deeply in God's teachings so that you can support one another rather than bring each other down. Take time today to pray for the people in your life, good and bad, and ask for the strength to remove what needs to be removed and cultivate what deserves to be cultivated.