A little seed can germinate, grow, and bear fruit. From a little seed, you can wind up with a loaf of bread, or a plate of spaghetti, or a birthday cake. That little seed can help keep a family healthy, happy, and growing. [Español venga pronto.]
But plenty of hostile forces can get in the way.
They farmed on the craggy hillsides around the Sea of Galilee. Not many large, level fields there. Thorns and thistles sprouting up everywhere. Oxen, donkeys, and other people treading the paths that traversed all the cultivated areas. A scorching sun, high in the sky. And plenty of hungry birds, ready to peck up any seed they could find.
Faith in Christ is the great seed of peace and eternal life. To believe what the Blessed Virgin believed, when the angel came and asked her to participate in the salvation of the human race by bearing the divine Child, and she said Yes. To believe what the shepherds believed on Christmas Eve, when they heard the angels singing Glory to God and peace to mankind. To believe what St. Thomas believed, when he saw Jesus risen from the dead and declared, “My Lord and my God.”
To believe what the ancient bishops of the Church gathered in Nicaea believed, and the bishops gathered in Trent to sift through the teachings of the Protestants, and the Fathers at the Vatican sixty years ago, trying to understand the Church’s mission in the 20th century and beyond—to believe what they all believed, from Abraham to Saint Joseph to the living saints among us: to believe that Jesus is the Christ of God, the Word made flesh to save us and give us the Kingdom of Heaven. This faith is the great seed of human peace and death-conquering life.
Plenty of hostile forces get in the way. Do we find ourselves at peace in our country? Growing in gentle communion with each other? Seems more like we have fallen into a bad national nightmare. Everyone wishes we could just wake up. 2019 wasn’t exactly a great year, but, gosh: could we take a time machine back a few months anyway?
Do we have peace in our Church? The steady life of fruitful growth, everyone growing together unto the fullness of Christ? Seems more like a lot of thorns and thistles in the temple, heavy footfalls trampling on the seedlings, and the soil feels shallow and dry under the relentless sun.
But wait. Let’s consider the sower in the parable. Where did He get His seed to sow? Southern States? Lowe’s? No. He simply has it. He didn’t have to go anywhere to get it. And He does not skimp in spreading it.
Why did He sow seed on the path in the first place? Or on the rocky ground? Or near the thorns and thistles? Is He blind, this Sower?
No. The opposite. He just has so much seed to sow that He spreads it everywhere. He never worries about running out.
God gives the gift of faith in Christ. God gives hope for peace and eternal life. God gives insight, patience, trust, and communion with heavenly love. God gives the interior seeds that can build up our relationship with Him, and with each other.
God doesn’t run out of grace. The hostile forces may get in the way and choke out some growth sometimes. But God has more seed in the seed bag. He tries again. He spreads some more.
I have sought “mutual understanding” with the Lord, especially lately. Teach me Your will, Master. Give me the persevering courage necessary to do it. Help me understand. That’s our daily prayer, all of us.
But what does mutual understanding between a human soul and God really come down to, in the end? It’s not like an algebra lesson, with formulas and stuff. It’s this: He understands, and I don’t. I understand only that He fully understands everything that confuses me.
His plan leads to peace and life. His Kingdom comes–when I trust, and abandon everything for Him. The seed germinates within me, when I believe. Especially when my leg aches, because it’s infected from a dog bite, and I have no idea what my future holds, and all earthly hope seems lost.
It’s precisely in moments like that when He told us: Rejoice and be glad. Your names are written in heaven. I died on a cross and sojourned among the dead, in order to give you endless life.
Let the thorns and thistles try to choke off My harvest. Let them try. Let the birds peck, and the heavy footfalls crush. Let the hot, dry sun beat down. Let them all try to cause famine and death. Let them try.
I have visited the underworld Myself, the land of darkness and endless thirst. I stood there, with five gaping wounds in my flesh. And Life flowed out of them.
Our faith in Him will bear fruit. It comes from heaven as a gift. Let’s hold fast to it, so that it can grow.