Weekly Homily from Father Jim Hogan for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 13, 2014

Father Jim apologizes for the lateness of his homily.  Because he wasgoing to be traveling last week, he had mailed it out to me early but for some reason, his email did not send out.  He discovered this when he returned home .  Thank you for your patience……Reyanna

•Isaiah 55: 10-11; Romans 8: 8-13; Matthew 13: 1-23•

Weekly Scripture Readings: 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Jesus told them many things in parables.Let anyone with ears listen!”

Last Sunday I reminded you that the gospel of Matthew is a compilation of various oral traditions compiled out of the conviction that the work and teaching of Jesus were both realistic and inspired by an unshakeable faith. Matthew brought those oral traditions together in a manner that addressed the needs and issues confronting his own community.

Those earliest oral traditions are clear. As Jesus moved around Galilee eating, teaching and
healing, he faced criticism and rejection. His initial companions had their moments of uncertainty, wondering if it wise or worthwhile to remain in his small community. Four generations later Matthew’s community had similar moments.
So Matthew begins this section of his gospel telling us (chapter 13), “Jesus got into a boat and sat there while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables.”  These parables call us to understand and live life the way Jesus understood and lived it.  Each parable is an invitation to move out of our old, conventional, and barely human world into a new world, a more human world, a world full of life.  His parables are stories about God.  In Christ the “new reality” God wants for all peoples is emerging. Jesus called it  “the reign of God.”

So consider the parable of a farmer planting seed.  There are at least three possible meanings.
First — “a sower went out to sow.”  The sower is Jesus. Matthew’s Jesus is actually describing his own work and attitude.  He planted seeds of kindness, mercy and love wherever he saw a chance that they might germinate. He knew the ears and hearts of many were closed.  He knew some of the seeds may not mature.  Even so he spread hope, and compassion everywhere.

Second –this parable offers assurance that God’s great work – “the reign of God” will not fail.  Although unseen, “God’s new reality” is emerging among us.  No matter how much opposition arises, regardless of the obstacles encountered, the gospel leads to an abundant harvest.

Third — this parable also is about us. Our job is to continue the work of Christ. We do so by
casting seeds of kindness, mercy, love and compassion wherever there is a chance they might germinate.  We are to sow.  It is not for us to reap success.  You know the enormous good and the love that saturates our world from so many simple, good people just like you. The love of God is emerging in our world.

In writing this homily I am very aware of the sensationalism of today’s news media. There is violence and bloodshed in the world.  There is so much suffering in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Ukraine and other places. There are the girls of Nigeria. We turn small children away from our borders.  There is the human trafficking and the prostitution in our nation and around our military bases. Don’t lose hope because of the apparent failure of the seeds to bear fruit.

Jesus of Nazareth was not a moral or political philosopher.  His parables proclaim the love of God rooted in the heart of the world and in the life of every human being.  There is a power within us that prompts us to keep growing; the seed of a tremendous life.  We have a capacity beyond our imagining.  We see this as our values and choices become increasingly more human.
Although silent and unseen, the transforming power of love is evident in the widespread thirst for justice and peace in our world.  It is evident in the kindness, sacrifice and generosity of so many.  It is evident in the unconditional love slowly but surely emerging from human hearts.  What Jesus has planted will bear fruit.  Be aware of this mystery deep within you as you live with greater transparency and simplicity, weaving new relationships and opening yourself more fully to God.

“Jesus told them many things in parables. … Let anyone with ears listen.”

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