13th June, 2021

seeds sprouting in the soil

Homily for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

At the very beginning of my Sunday reflection, I wanted to share with you that this particular gospel is very close to me, especially these two parables about seeds. I like them for many reasons, but mainly because – as you know – I like gardening very much, I like a lot of different plants, and I enjoy taking care of our little parish garden, which you can see whenever you leave the church after Mass. And I think this is one of the many advantages of the one-way system that we still have in our church! Anyway, I think all of us – even if some of you don’t have any garden and any experience in gardening – but can all easily imagine what Jesus wants to tell us today. And the second thing, we can easily imagine what the main message is of these two interesting parables about seeds.

When we listen and reflect on this Gospel, we can come to the conclusion that this particular Word of God wants to tell us something very important about our mission, about this responsible mission that has been entrusted to us on the day of our Baptism and also in the sacrament of Confirmation – to evangelize and to proclaim the Good News in our families, at school, at work, in the parish and wherever we are sent by God and whatever our calling is.

Perhaps at times we would like all our hard work and effort – that we put in this mission – to bear fruit immediately and perhaps at times – in our great zeal and enthusiasm – we would like to bring to God all the people we know. Our dream is to fill this and other churches with people as much as we are allowed and as much as we can at this present time. But Jesus tells us today that our only task and mission is to throw seed on the land… nothing more! There is nothing more we should do but sow. Let us ask: Is this bad or good news for us? What does it mean that our mission is limited to sowing only? What does this mean in practice to throw seed on the land? It means to patiently preach the Gospel and at the same time to be a credible witness to it in our daily lives as parents, spouses, priests, students, teachers.

As a priest, I sometimes listen to the older generation of people who share with me their worries and concerns about their family, children and grandchildren. They very often say to me: Father, my whole family was very devout, very practicing, and very faithful to God, both my grandparents and my parents. As a family we have a very strong Catholic background and I have been very proud of it. For many years I tried to do my best to raise my children in the Catholic faith, I sent them to very good Catholic schools. But now… neither my children nor grandchildren attend church and they have no relationship with God at all. Have I made any mistakes? Have I not done enough?

I think today’s parables gives us the best answer to such questions and dilemmas. If you really trusted God, if you patiently threw the seed on the land and if you sowed His Word in the hearts of your loved ones, then you did everything you could, and you didn’t make any mistakes! Moreover, Jesus wants to tell us all something else: Never get discouraged in your mission of throwing seeds on the land. Keep doing what you have been doing so far with the same enthusiasm, but with more trust in God. Pray patiently, read and meditate on the Word of God, try to build your relationship with Jesus through adoration, prayers and other Sacraments. Try to be an example and a credible witness of the Gospel also when you leave the church, and share your testimony of faith with others. Once you have completed your mission, trust God and leave the rest of this work to Him, because as the Gospel says: Night and day, while you sleep, when you are awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, you do not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear… Even when you are asleep, God never sleeps and you never know when your hard work – with His help – will bear fruit, first in your life and then in the lives of your children, grandchildren, parishioners, and friends. As in gardening, there is nothing more you can do, and nothing you can speed up. And – if you have even little experience with seeds and plants you know that – not everything depends on us. Night and day, when you are asleep and when you are awake God never sleeps, but is constantly present, He works and grows those seeds you have patiently sown for many years.

May these two simple parables about seeds encourage us to trust in God and to be even more patient in our mission to evangelise and bring others to God. Let us try to see God and meet Him primarily here in the church, in the sacraments, in adoration, in prayer, in our neighbours, but also in nature and in all creatures, that can tell us so much about how great God is, and how wonderful and surprising miracles he works in our lives …night and day, while we sleep and when we are awake… how, we never know…

Fr Gregory