June 14, 2015
ORDINARY 11 (B)
To what shall we compare the kingdom of God?
Lately we have become more nutrition conscious than ever before. We have awakened to the fact that we are what we eat. The signs of this interest in eating the right foods are all around us. Health food stores have sprung up everywhere. Food processing companies are being forced to be more truthful in their advertising & their labelling. Books on nutrition are selling in ever larger numbers. Eating not only the right food but also the right amount of food has become a popular topic of conversation. Everywhere we encounter someone who is either on a diet or going on a diet. A follower of Norman Vincent Peale (who wrote a book entitled “The Power of Positive Thinking”)has published a book on how you can pray away those excess pounds, leading one wag to suggest that the book be entitled “The Power of Positive Shrinking.”
But important as it is, good nutrition is not the only source of well-being. One can eat right & still get sick. Medical science is discovering more & more these days about the close relationship between our physical condition & our spiritual condition. St. Paul was aware of this when he wrote to the christians in Corinth. He reminded them the true source of nourishment is Christ, the very bread of life. He tells them that physical consequences can result from a lack of proper respect for this spiritual food: “That is why many among you are ill & infirm, & a considerable number are dying” (I Cor. 11: 30).
We all know, some of us from personal experience, that when we are spiritually down, when we are depressed, we are unable to get things done. We can’t make our physical body do what it is supposed to do. Our mind doesn’t function the way it should & we can’t make decisions. We just want to close the door behind us & shut everyone & everything out.
Many of us are enriching our body every day with vitamins & supplements & all the rest of it. But for our complete well-being, , for the wholeness of life we all need & want, that’s not good enough if we are not enriching our soul with the bread of life.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks “What comparison should we use for the reign of God?” Then he says, “It is like a mustard seed which … is the smallest of all the earth’s seeds, yet once it is sown, springs up to become the largest of shrubs….” Through Jesus & the sacraments He gave us, God has sown the seeds of His kingdom deep within each one of us, & He provides the nourishment for its growth & development. If we refuse the grace(s), our spiritual growth is retarded. On the inside we remain empty; on the outside we remain powerless to recognize & appreciate the things of the spirit.
This helps to explain why many outside the church fail to discern the deep wisdom of the stance the Church has taken on certain issues, but it points also points to why many within the Church, who consider themselves practicing Christians, fail to do so. Either we advance deeper into the Mystery that is the kingdom of God or we lose ground: there is no such thing as marking time. It takes effort, & the way is narrow, but the alternatives are much worse.
A psychiatrist has said that in our early years, we will die if we do not receive love; but in our later years we wither & die if we do not give love. Please God, give us the nourishment we need for the journey into your kingdom of love. Please God, give us the bread of life so that we in turn may pass it on to others so desperately in need of it. AMEN!