Here is my homily for this weekend. May God bless each of you.
15th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Cycle A
July 15/16, 2017
Isaiah 55: 10-11; Rom 8: 18-23; Matt 13: 1-23
What seed do you sow in your field? I’m not just asking the farmers here today, but all of us. What seed will you sow? God has given each of us a field of some sort in which to sow the seed, e.g., our families, neighborhoods, towns, and parishes.
The seed must be sown regardless of the soil on which it is sown, so I would like each of us to focus today on the sower of the seed rather than the type of soil on which it lands. It must be sown on every type of field. If someone rejects or crowds it out because of worldly concerns, someone else will benefit from our sowing, as we heard in the first reading today. The seed shall not return void, but achieve its end.
No matter how difficult our lives may become, no matter how difficult sowing the seed may be for us, no matter how fruitless it may seem, not matter how many failures we may experience, nothing can compare to the glory to be revealed in us and in our lives. The good we do always bears good fruit even though we may not see it, so we must never become discouraged.
Do you sow? Will you sow seed in your field? Do not say, “It is not my job” or “I cannot talk about faith and God openly where I work or live.” Every man, woman, child can and must sow the seed of love and mercy in the world.
Many give up and ask, “Why do so many bad things happen to me and the world? Why doesn’t God stop all these miseries, sicknesses, wars, divisions, and hatreds if the world, if he is all powerful?” These things happen and remind us over and over again of the power of evil that remains, and Satan’s efforts to keep us from hearing andunderstanding, from looking and seeing, and to discourage us from sowing the seed of love and forgiveness. They are Satan’s attempts to place doubts in our minds, to confuse us and lead us into choices that only give rise to more divisions, distress, and confusion, in other words, to get us to sow bad seed. God knows this. God has known from all eternity that He would enter the world by sending his Son to confront directly, to take on personally, each and every sickness, tragedy, war, misery, sin, and hatred the world has ever known, or will ever know. Why? To completely defeat them through his death and resurrection. Do we think of this, believe this, when we in our failures and distress begin to ask, “Why would God let this happen?”
God does not create sickness or sin. God takes sickness and sin and puts them on himself. He takes them on personally and carries them with you. When we suffer such things, God is present.
Do we look for him there? Do we see him then? Do we hear him at those moments and understand?
There is only one remedy for sin, sickness, failure and defeat. That remedy is love and forgiveness. Love more deeply and forgive more completely. Only love and forgiveness can destroy evil. Only love and forgiveness, not hatred, not revenge; only love and forgiveness. This is what God did in his Son on the Cross.
This is the seed we must sow in today’s world. It will not be accepted by all. Some will not understand. Some will look at it, but not see or recognize it. Some will outright reject it. Yet, we must sow the seed of love and forgiveness constantly.
Why do bad things happen to us and the world? Why does a mother lose her child or a father his son? Why does a young person die of cancer? Because evil and disorder continues to exist in the world and is very real. The question, though, is not, “Why does God not stop it?” but rather, “Do I really believe in what Jesus accomplished on the Cross, that he literally experienced every division, sin, hatred, and sickness the world will ever experience, and conquered them all by dying and rising from the dead, by loving us that much, forgiving us that completely, and by promising that we too will rise to everlasting life.
This is the seed we must sow in our fields, whatever field has been given to us, even if the world rejects it, even though our efforts seem fruitless at times. We must tell everyone that love and forgiveness conquers all evil, every mishap, each misdeed, and every sin.
Love requires sacrifice and forgiveness requires honestly calling sin sin, not excusing or denying it, but rather forgiving it. No excuses, no denials, just love and forgiveness.
May God help us in our efforts.