Homily – July 12, 2020

Jesus was a great teller of parables, stories. His listeners knew his stories had a message, a teaching beyond the story.

We can just imagine this farmer walking in his field. He has a sack of seed hung around his neck. He takes a handful of seed and flings it into the air and a breeze scatters the seed. It falls where it may. The farmer takes a chance; some seed may fall on hard rocky ground with no chance of taking root. Some will fall among weeds and as they take root will lose the battle for survival with the weeds. Other seeds will end up in the belly of a bird. Other seeds, hopefully the majority, will fall on good ground and bear a rich harvest. But the reality of the way the seed was sown is that if 20% of the seed flourished that would be a good harvest.

Modern planting leaves nothing to chance, everything is mechanical. The seeds are planted just so far apart and all in straight rows. But there is a fly in the ointment, Mother Nature. Farmers today are desperate for rain, the fields are bone dry, these hot, hot days don’t help. Then as now there are no guarantees in sowing or planting..

Jesus travelled from town to town in Galilee and Judea teaching the people, thru stories such as the one we’ve heard today, about the love of God for each of them. A love flung out on the world with total abandon, a love and a forgiveness meant for everyone. Jesus embodied that love as he gave sight to the blind, as he made lepers clean, gave sight to the blind, mobility to the lame and paralyzed. Jesus embodied God’s love as he lifted the burden of sin from the shoulders of those oppressed with the guilt of their past lives. St. Paul claims that the crucified Christ was the love of God made visible.

Day after day, town after town Jesus flung the seed of God’s love and care and healing out to the hearers of the stories he told, his teachings and his deeds of wonder.

So often the seeds of his teachings he tried to sow fell of the hard ground of the hostility of the religious authorities of the day. How dare this nobody speak of God, how dare he intrude on their domain? Or they fell among the brambles of people threatened by his teachings of justice and acceptance of men and women different from themselves, like the Samaritans.

There were times when many found his teaching hard to take and walked with him no more, carried off in the wind of resistance to change. But Jesus continued to fling the seed until that day when they nailed his hands to the cross.

Today the sower is our Church, for all its failings, as it puts before us the demanding teachings of Jesus the sower of justice, love and peace. We, the soil, are no different from the people of the time of Jesus. We’re caught up in the concerns of our lives. We enjoy the good life. We don’t like our lifestyles challenged, we can resist a change for the better, we don’t want to be the keeper of our brothers and sisters, We don’t want to face the truth of which today’s events remind us; in one way or another we are all racist in that, unconsciously, we see men and women different than ourselves as less than ourselves.

May we pray for ourselves and for each other that the Bread of Life that nourishes each of us at this Mass will strengthen us to be fertile soil to receive and nourish the seed of Christ’s teachings into our lives and that we bear a bountiful harvest.