From the Pastor's Desk
The harvest is ripe
Jesus tells us a story of a sower who would be a rather wasteful gardener — he sows seed willy nilly all over the place, on the path, in the briars and brambles, even on the rocks! Of course, Jesus is that overly generous sower. He sows his word on everybody, good and bad alike. If Jesus sowed literal seeds like that, he would have been a pretty lousy farmer. But as a sower of his word, his truth, his Gospel, he is extraordinarily generous. Jesus preached the Good News to all, to those eager to listen as well as to those who didn’t want to hear it.
Isaiah, who lived about 600 years before Jesus, had an amazing understanding of the water cycle. Although he could not have had the scientific understanding we have today about evaporation and rainfall, in his metaphor he nailed it! Listen to his wisdom: “Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful. . .” Isaiah seems to have a good grasp of the fact that water falls from the sky in the form of precipitation, provides hydration for plants and trees so they can bear fruit, collects in rivers and lakes to provide an indispensable resource for humans and animals, then returns to the heavens, having nourished and sustained life here on earth. And so it is with God’s word. When spoken from the heavens, God’s word has a creative power (consider the creation story in Genesis) and transformative effect (consider the voice from heaven at Jesus’ baptism and Transfiguration as attested by the Gospels). God’s word/Word does God’s will here on earth. John begins his Gospel telling us that Jesus is the Word come down from heaven. Jesus, the Word, nourishes and sustains us, even as he returns to heaven to continue the life-giving cycle.
Back to the parable: the sower must have an inexhaustible supply of seed. Otherwise, why throw seed on the footpath or on rocky ground where it has little or no chance of germinating and flourishing? Why not take the time to pull the weeds and thorns first, so they won’t choke the plants? Wouldn’t it make more sense to only sow the seed in rich soil? But God does not work that way. God does not limit where the seed goes. Everyone is offered God’s gift. Everyone gets a chance to receive it and be nourished by it. Grace is offered to all! God’s wild extravagance gives righteousness and holiness a chance to bloom in unexpected and unlikely places, able to bear fruit far beyond expectations (“a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold”).
This is one of those Gospels that causes many of us to reevaluate our response to Christ. It is natural, as we listen to this Gospel, to attempt to determine which spot on the ground we are. “Am I rich soil or rocky ground?,” we ask ourselves. But the truth is that we are probably the different landing places for the seed at different times. Sometimes God’s word invigorates and enlivens us. Sometimes it doesn’t take root or is choked off because we are distracted by other concerns to which we give greater priority at that moment.
Any good farmer, or even a mediocre one, knows that just sowing the seed isn’t enough. The seed must be watered, fertilized and cared for! The seed must be tended with care!
Oh to be soil that is receptive, fertile and fruitful!
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Medical professionals remind us that the pandemic is not over. In fact, it is surging. Please be cautious in what you do for your own sake and for the good of others. This is certainly true for when we gather in worship, as well.
I thank all of you for your continued support of your parish and our raffles.
Let us help each other to get through this.
“Dear Padre” page courtesy of:
Mahn Funeral Home
Peaceful Ridge Cemetery
Mausoleum - Monuments - Cremation
900 Main & Mahn Ave - De Soto, MO 63020 - 636-586-2288/515 Collins Ave.-Festus, MO 63028 - 636-937-4444