Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ought to Hear

Then the LORD extended his hand and touched my mouth, saying, See, I place my words in your mouth! This day I set you over nations and over kingdoms, to root up and to tear down, to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant.  Jeremiah 1:9-10

“A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”  Matthew 13:3C-9

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an
opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

(From Archbishop Oscar Romero Prayer: A Step Along the Way by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw) 

Jeremiah was destined to become a prophet before his birth.  However, he tried to resist God’s call. He was no different than Moses, Job, Peter, and countless other prophets and disciples.

Like Jeremiah, we all come up with excuses about why we do not want to be out in the fields of the Lord sowing his seeds.  We want to sleep in on Sunday morning. The homily will be hard to understand. Or maybe too long. The church will be too crowded.  Or not crowded enough.  The people I usually see on Sunday will not be there because of their vacation. 

Jesus will not suffer our excuses any more than he would allow Jeremiah to get away with his protest.  Jesus, however, recognizes that not all the seeds of wisdom that he plants will take root and bear fruit.  Thus, the Parable of the Sower is delivered in the Gospel. As the NAB notes explain:

Since in Palestine sowing often preceded plowing, much of the seed is scattered on ground that is unsuitable. Yet while much is wasted, the seed that falls on good ground bears fruit in an extraordinarily large measure. The point of the parable is that, in spite of some failure because of opposition and indifference, the message of Jesus about the coming of the kingdom will have enormous success.[i]

The predicted success will be hard to imagine when the Pharisees turn Jesus over to the Roman governor for execution.

What seeds of friendship are you planting today?  Keep planting no matter what kind of ground you encounter. 

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