Reflections for the Week
Called to Play
Both the parables in today’s Gospel point to the role that we are called to play in God’s plan. He takes care of the major part and leaves us with a small role. However the role he has assigned to us is fundamental. The farmer has to first of all scatter the seed and only then will God be able to do the rest, ie; making the seed sprout, grow and bear fruit. Likewise, although the mustard seed itself is small, it has to be first sown into the ground. Once it is sown then its hidden ability to grow into the greatest of shrubs is triggered and it becomes one in which even birds can take shelter. Since ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’ we are given the task of taking a decisive step and playing a crucial role.
God’s Word Fr Aloysius Selvakumar
In the Present
It is sometimes the case that we spend much of our time worrying about the outcome of our actions even
before we can do them. This attitude does not allow us to be in the present moment and so the action that we do is not done to the best of our ability. We do not put ourselves fully into the action that we do. At other times, we do not act at all but only worry. While the first of today’s parables is calling us to act and then relax rather than worry, the second is assuring us that our actions will indeed bear fruit.
God’s Word Fr Errol Fernandes SJ
The family’s pet dog was about to have puppies. Everyone was very excited, especially the younger children. After much thought, Mum and Dad thought it would be a good experience for the children to see the puppies born - a natural introduction to an important process of life. The time came, and all went well. Cynthia, the youngest, was spellbound by it all - the most amazing thing she’d witnessed in her six years of life. When it was all over, her thoughtful silence was broken at last, with a question: “Well, I can see how they got out… but how did they get in there?”
This is the sort of question well known to most parents; each deals with it in the way that seems to be right at the time. But this little girl’s question points us to a very everyday, but rather mysterious, reality. However scientifically accurate and detailed our reply to Cynthia’s question may be, it will never quite “explain” how her new, individual puppies have come to be. The coming to be of life where before there was none - in plants, or animals, or human beings - remains startling and always new. It can take a child’s directness to remind us, however, of how, deep down, we don’t really know how this has just gone on happening, while we were busy with other things.
It seems significant that, when Jesus wanted to speak of the great mystery of the kingdom of God, what he turned to were these same everyday, taken-for-granted mysteries of growth and fruitfulness, as we hear in today’s Gospel. So often, the stories Jesus tells are drawn from the world of planting, harvesting, shepherding, pruning. We can think of him as someone who spent time watching and reflecting upon these patterns of day-to-day life. In his teaching we can see how Jesus recognises, in these mundane realities, places of grace, and life-giving, and God’s work. Men and women work the land, and plant the seed, and reap harvests; but the growing itself, the journey from the tiny seed to the great tree teeming with life - this goes on without us. God’s loving power is secretly at work making our routine efforts abundant with life and goodness. And this, Jesus tells us, is what God’s kingdom is like.
To preach the kingdom, as Jesus did, always carries with it an element of risk. Indeed, in Jesus’ own time it sounded to some - both friends and enemies - like a call to action, even a call to arms. But this constant referring to the mystery of life itself warns against such an action-oriented reading of the kingdom. Just like the prophets before him, Jesus urges his followers to trust not in their own efforts or plans, but in the mystery of God’s powerful, ever-creative love for them. The sower still has to prepare the land, and sow the seed; but the real work of new life happens in God’s secret ways, while the sower sleeps, and gets on with the rest of his life.
There are all sorts of routine things that human beings need to fill their days with: getting and preparing food, keeping a place to live in good order, earning enough money, looking after children or others who need care. For Christians there is also the daily, routine call to pray - we are called to this even though we may not always see the point or feel we get much out of it. Many of us - at different times in our lives - can find ourselves wondering about the point of all this, about what it achieves; or we can be driven to ever greater efforts of work and the bearing of heavy burdens, in the name of achieving, making our mark. These may not be bad things in themselves, but the mystery of the kingdom lies elsewhere - in the powerful work of the Spirit, underlying all our little efforts, and bringing life out of our simplest actions.
Could we spend less time and energy on our own efforts, and more on discerning and rejoicing in God’s own work for our life? This work of the Spirit is going on all the time, all around us. Sometimes we have to be still for longer, in order to see it as Jesus did. When we learn better to see it, we will know how to respond; and our actions can then mirror our daily prayer, that God’s kingdom come.
The Living Word Redemptorist Publications
Adoration in June
It’s in God’s presence where we truly find our peace. In these troubling times, where there is sickness,
depression, job loss, or just a usual air of anxiety, the best place to be is on your knees, adoring the Lord Jesus. All are invited into his loving presence.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is held on all Saturdays of June in reparation to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. Prayer and quiet time begins from 9:30am through to Benediction at 4:30pm, in the Prayer Room.
Fr Bill's Thoughts