Saturday, September 17, 2016

On Rich Soil

You fool! What you sow is not brought to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be but a bare kernel of wheat, perhaps, or of some other kind. 1 Corinthians 15:35-37

“But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.” Luke 8:15

Excerpts from the beginning of a
“Contemporary Adaptation of Psalm 146” By Art Laffin

Praise God our Creator, Source of all life.
I will sing praise to God as long as I live.

Do not put your trust in princes and rulers,
in mortals, in whom there is no salvation.
When they die they return to the earth;
on that very day their plans perish.

Happy are those whose hope is in God,
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry and welcomes the immigrant;
who seeks to end racism, sexism and all forms of discrimination;
who labors to eradicate poverty, proclaim liberty to captives, and practice restorative justice!

For the Lord sets prisoners free,
and opens the eyes of the blind;
the Lord raises up those who are bowed down
and loves the righteous and those who do the works of mercy and peace.

(For the complete prayer, visit this site.)

The analogy/parable of the seed is woven into two meanings which are self-evident to the agricultural people.  First, St. Paul uses the seed to explain resurrection – an interesting dilemma.  We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead, his closest friends had trouble recognizing him.  Paul reminds people that the tree is not at all like the seed.  He could be talking about Jesus here, but he also is referring to what will happen to everyone in the Resurrection.

So also is the resurrection of the dead.
It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible.
It is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious.
It is sown weak; it is raised powerful.
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one.

The notes in the New American Bible further explain this analogy:  The principles of qualitative difference before and after death and of diversity on different levels of creation are now applied to the human body. Before: a body animated by a lower, natural life-principle (psychÄ“) and endowed with the properties of natural existence (corruptibility, lack of glory, weakness). After: a body animated by a higher life-principle (pneuma) and endowed with other qualities (incorruptibility, glory, power, spirituality), which are properties of God himself.[i]

Jesus uses the same seed image to explain how the Word of God grows in the world and in the hearts of people. Jesus realizes that his message does not resonate with all people.  He is willing to endure his Word falling on deaf ears, people who forget what is said, people who are driven away by temptations in life.  All that makes it ever more joy-filled when the Word falls on ears that listen and act upon it.
 Jean-Francois Millet, The Gleaning

"We need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern." - Pope Francis, 9/16/13

We are about 50 days away from a pivotal election.  How are you preparing to make your decision? According to a handout offered by the USCCB:  The Church equips its members to address political questions by helping them develop well-formed consciences. “Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act. [Every person] is obliged to follow faithfully what he [or she] knows to be just and right” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1778). We Catholics have a lifelong obligation to form our consciences in accord with human reason, enlightened by the teaching of Christ as it comes to us through the Church.

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