Sunday, July 13, 2014

15th Sunday Ordinary Time - Matthew 13:1-23 - "Seeds"

“Teaching religious education is like planting seeds in the minds of our children.”  We pray the lessons take root; hoping their faith grows – by the mystery of God – at some later time in life.  And that when it does, we again hope and pray they will return to the church of their youth.”  Does this approach to Religious Education sound familiar? 

We hear the farmer, seed and planting metaphor several times throughout the New Testament.  In Mark 4:27, the passage refers to plants growing from seeds while the farmer sleeps, but the farmer knows not how it’s done, except through the mystery of the Divine.  And here today’s Gospel tells us about seeds being scattered on good and thin soil, among thorns and on rocky ground.  The seed grow well only in the good soil, but withers and dies on the thin soil or is choked and overwhelmed by the thorns and fails to take root at all, among the rocks.

So, how well does that first statement about religious education being like ‘planting seeds in the minds of our children’ - work when we hear that there is a three-fourths chance of the seed falling not in the good soil?

What do we do to increase the odds, so that more seed fall on the good soil, take root and grow strong?  

And remember – these odds are not just some impersonal numbers, - they are the souls and eternal lives of those we love – our children, sons and daughters,  our grand-children, - our nieces and nephews - our husbands and wives, - our brothers and sisters – all those people NOT sitting in the pew next to you that you wish and pray were.

If we believe what we profess – if we believe in God, the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit and His promise of eternal life in His heavenly kingdom – if we believe that Jesus is the Word of God made Flesh and if we believe that He died on the cross, so we may eternal life – then we need to take a more cooperative stance in the planting of the seeds of faith in the minds and hearts of all God’s children.

The world, - domain of the evil-one, - is filled with messages designed to separate us from the love of God.  Each of us is bombarded by over 3,000 messages a day - designed to form or change our opinion on everything - from what car to buy, what soap to use and more importantly on how we are to view life and death - marriage and family – and care for the poor and those suffering children of God in most need - even on the very existence of God.  

And, unless you listen to Catholic radio or watch Catholic television (and we know how few of these channels exist) – how often, in mass media do you hear messages positively speaking about God, Jesus, the Catholic Church or faithful Christian living?  I’ll save you the research – ZERO - NADA – NOTHING! 

The Holy Spirit works within each one of us - urging us to use our gifts to work in cooperation with God in bringing about the salvation of the world.  We do this by living faithful Christian lives, everywhere we go: in the home, at the office, in school, at play, among friends and strangers - and especially among family.  We should be living examples of Christian living that shows and teaches others about Jesus and how important He is in our lives and how strong our faith is in God’s promise.

The journey of discipleship in Christ Jesus is not always an easy journey, but it is best made among family and friends, fellow disciples, who support one another in their faith; helping to make saints of one another, lifting up and carrying one another to the gates of heaven.

So, while through the mystery of God, seeds may grow, it is with the cooperation of the farmer that the seeds find and take root in the good soil.  
It is the farmer who tills the soil and the farmer who pulls up the weeds; ensuring the seed has the best opportunity for life and strong growth.  For the world is full of thorns, and rocks and thin soil – seed should not be left unattended to fend for itself in such a scary place.

Pray for us, O’ Mother of Mercy, pray for us.

Deacon Don

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