Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 17, 2018)
Parents of growing children sometimes have a heart-breaking experience. A child of theirs does not “catch” the faith that they have tried to teach and “have caught.”
Recently, I heard a good story from grandparents who were in that situation. Their only child was indifferent to God and church as he grew up. He graduated, dated and married. He and his wife had a child. The grandmother was a real, grandmother. She told her grandchild stories of Jesus and how Jesus loved him, [she planted the seeds of faith.] The grandfather took the child for walks and took him fishing. He said God bless you to the child even when he didn’t sneeze. [He cultivated the seed that his wife had planted].
Years passed and the grandparents were overjoyed when the grandchild wanted to know God, to have a relationship with God, like his grandparents - and completed the RCIC. After his confirmation, the parents saw the faith in their child and returned to the Lord as well. The story had a very happy ending.
The parables of Jesus do two things: the stories, first, arrest our attention; they also tease us to puzzle about their meaning. Today we heard two of the kingdom-parables: one made the point that the seed grows on its own, silently. The other is the fact that the kingdom of God begins small and grows beyond expectation.
I wonder how true those two points are in our day. It seems that like the grandparents’ experience with their son and grandson, the seed needs to be watered, cultivated and fertilized. Our surroundings “out there” today are hostile to the quiet, unattended growing of the seed of the word of God.
Barbara Walters once interviewed Stephen Spielberg before the Oscar presentations. She asked him: “How do you feel about making Schindler’s List? How do you feel about being a Jew? His reply: “I feel I am about something.”
We are about something. We are all about something in our effort to make the kingdom of god a reality in our land. It is our task to do all that we can to facilitate the birth of the kingdom of God in our generation, because the kingdom of God is not a once-and-for-all accomplishment. It must be grown anew in each generation.
Harry Smith on CBS interviewed the actress Geena Davis. She made an insightful remark: “Life is messy and awful and complicated and beautiful - all at the same time.” So true! It is an apt description of our situation and the challenge and the growth process of the kingdom of God.
The Lord gives meaning to our lives; having meaning makes living our lives a positive experience. Is it our task to contribute to the growth of the kingdom, so that the messy is less, and the beautiful, more? That is what happens in the day-to-day living out of our lives when we understand that that is “what we are about.”