Saturday, June 13, 2015

HOMILY – Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (2015)

I have read that the mustard seed plant, which were hear about in today’s Gospel, is an annual plant that has a very small seed that germinates as soon as it is planted in the ground and then it grows very quickly. I am told that it is very difficult to control once it has grown to a certain height and it is difficult to keep pruned. This is how my mind works sometimes: in my moments of doubt, insecurity, weakness, or lack of trust in God’s plan for me, an evil or sinful thought is planted in my mind and it grows quickly and almost out of control – like the mustard seed – causing me to toss and turn at night, fixate on a problem, and for a period of time be frozen by anxiety and worry – all because I don’t trust God completely and at all times. If you are anything like me, today’s readings offer great comfort and hope. Today’s readings remind us – in our moments of weakness and sinfulness, despair and hopelessness – that we are called to “walk by faith,” as Saint Paul instructs in today’s Second Reading. Not to walk by fear, uncertainty, doubt or selfishness. But rather, to walk by faith in a God who made us and loves us. To walk by faith in a God who wants us to know his love, peace and joy. To walk by faith in a God who will do the necessary tilling, watering, pruning, and nurturing in us that will result in a great harvest of faith, trust and love in him. In other words, God will give us the help we need. God’s help – his grace - working in us will help us to face our fear, uncertainty, doubt or selfishness. Carrying on the gardening metaphor, the fruit of this grace – what results when we accept God’s help – are the fruits of the Holy Spirit: charity, generosity, joy, gentleness, peace, faithfulness, patience, modesty, kindness, self-control, goodness, and chastity. Instead of fear, uncertainty, doubt or selfishness, this what we are invited to experience now and eternally. This is the Kingdom of God envisioned by the Gospel writer Mark! However, just like the mustard seed plant that grows quickly and spreads even faster, our ego and selfishness, our doubt and insecurity, our pain and loneliness can easily and quickly grow and block us from the Kingdom of God. It should be God’s love and mercy that is spreading like the mustard seed plant, but too often it is just the opposite. For this reason, we need to act with courage and urgency, of which St. Paul speaks of in today’s Second Reading, to remove in our own lives whatever it is that keep us from trusting God. Maybe it certain TV shows or sites on the Internet or applications on our smartphones; maybe is a certain person or group of individuals; maybe it some place, some behavior, or some thing. Whatever it is, spend time this week in prayer with God, who wants nothing more than for you to be free from what ever it is that is keeping you from the Kingdom of God. Ask for the grace – the help – to be free to trust and love him completely! So that like the mustard seed plant, God’s love, peace, joy may be with you always! My hope and prayer is that in the coming months, our parish, as we move from maintenance mode to a mission-driven parish (as I shared with you last month), that we will create opportunities and small groups to support each other in our personal journey towards the Kingdom of God. In the meantime, continue to pray and take comfort and hope in our loving God’s promise in today’s readings: that he will protect you, and care for you, and give you whatever you need most to be in relationship with him. May God bless you.