July 20, 2014
ORDINARY 16 (A)
He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom. – Matt. 12: 37-38
This parable is a twist on the one for last Sunday, for here the seed is not the word of God, but citizens of the Kingdom. Who are these citizens? A famous track star was asked what he considered the most important part of a race. His reply: “The start. I must be ready.” The citizens of our Lord’s Kingdom know how to get ready. Such a person permeates each day with the quietness of prayer. Such a person is like the loveable mystic, Br. Lawrence:
“The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, & the noise & clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees.”
Wherever we are, whatever challenges we face, or trials we undergo, or relationships we enter into, God is there. We are never separated from Him, even though it may seem so at times. When our life seems complicated & perplexing, in the midst of confusion & discord we need to let ourselves become quiet. This is not easy at the best of times, & it is especially difficult when our emotions are running riot. But it is the key to real prayer. God has sown for us the seed of love. To reap a harvest of love we must cultivate the seed. The seed of love is watered with love, weeded with patience, & tended with forgiveness & compassion.
The principalities & powers – the source of evil in this world – have sown the seed of fear. The seed of fear is watered with fear, tended with hatred, & nourished with unforgiveness & insensitivity. The cultivators of the seed of fear reap a harvest of fear.
The notion of vengeance is a bad seed. So is the desire to pronounce self-righteous judgment, an attitude of indifference to those in need, & the worship of the false god called “materialism.” For such seeds to be rooted out of our lives, we must first seek God’s kingship over us.
Centuries ago, a man called “Moses” was enjoying the security of a good marriage & a good position in his Father-in-law’s business. Moses had “settled down.” Then God interrupted his life-style, saying, “Moses, Moses. I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt, & have heard their cry. I have come to deliver them from out of the hands of the Egyptians.” At first, Moses resisted the call to be more than a spectator to the oppression of his people: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” If there are reasons for us to resist God’s call, there are stronger ones to accept. In answer to Moses’ objection, God said, “But I will be with you”. So Moses delivered his people from bondage.
The redemptive force in our world is a minority factor. Jesus compared it to a tiny seed, or yeast or leaven, a spark of light in the vast darkness. The hope of today’s world rests in today’s living heirs of that redemptive minority who, 2,000 years ago, ‘turned the world upside down’.
In a world where human existence itself is at risk, the role of “innocent bystander” has been abolished. No longer (as if we ever could) can we evade responsibility for things-as-they-are through indifference. We must choose between accepting responsibility for things-as-they-ought-to be or forfeiting our citizenship in the Kingdom. In the words of our Lord, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest” (Mt. 9: 37-38)
Indeed, the laborers are few. But few as they are, they have no fear. They go forth to reap a harvest of love, believing in God’s promise”: I will be with you… I will be with you … I will be with you ! AMEN!