St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

 

To Grow In Spiritual Life                                                                                      -Homily June 14, 2015

 

Jesus speaks in parables because we usually deal better with images than with deep concepts. By speaking in that way, he makes us think and reflect in his words. Those who remember his words remember Him. The more we remember Jesus and think about him the more we love him. Also, when we reflect about the meaning of the Bible we use better our time, we do not waste our time. Jesus speaks in parables so that, instead of watching TV, which usually dries our brain, we exercise our brain. Instead of reading superficial magazines about the lives of other people, we exercise our brain in reflection. What did Jesus mean? What is the seed? What does the harvest mean? Why does he clarify that the sower sleeps and rises again?

 

Jesus explains privately to his disciples, because they will have to teach the people what he means. He explains more to his disciples because they spend more time with him, they spend time privately with him, they are closer to him. If we reflect often in the Scriptures, we all may become of that group to whom Jesus explains everything privately.

 

1. Let’s go to the explanation of the parable. The seed is the word of God, it is also his grace. The earth is a humble heart. God gives his grace only to the humble. In order to receive the Kingdom of God we have to recognize that we need Jesus, that we are not perfect, that the happiness we desire cannot be found but in God.

 

2. But maybe the most important message of the Gospel of today is that the seed is meant to grow. How many times Christians grow old and pass their entire life with the faith they had when they were children. Old people with a tiny faith. Old priests with a tiny faith. Adults with the faith of a child. Jesus wants our faith and our love for him to grow. I am not talking about studies, although it is not excluded. Most importantly, we have to grow in our confidence in the word of God, we have to grow in our life of prayer, we have to grow in our love for God, in our desire of Heaven, in our charity towards our neighbour, in our capacity of forgiveness and patience. Do we grow in these things?

 

3. The sower of the word of God is Jesus. A man who sleeps and rises: his death and resurrection. A man who does not know how the seed grows: it means, I think, that Jesus gives us the gift of grace so that we ourselves also play our part, so that we freely respond to his grace. Jesus does not want to do everything, we have a job to do. Then Jesus says: “There is first a stalk.” We have to grow, but the beginning is not nice, it is like a stalk, like the cross. First, we have to purify ourselves from evil, from sin, bad habits, etc. But then, “there is the head”: the head of wheat is more attractive. It means to grow in the exercise of virtues, in the imitation of Christ and his saints. There is then the full grain: at the end we enjoy the fruit, we are bread ready to be transform in the body of Christ, we enjoy the sweetness of God. So three stages: first, the purification of evil; second, the growth in virtue and good habits; finally, rest and communion with God. Mind you, in those three stages we will always fight evil, but the bitterness of the beginning is gradually transformed in the sweetness of rest.

 

4. In the second parable we hear that the beginning of spiritual life is small, in our own eyes, like the mustard seed; but it is destined to be so great, that many others will be able to enjoy its growth. When faith grows it is ready to be shared; when love grows it is ready to do good to others. A sign of growth in spiritual life is that we think more about others than about ourselves, and that we think more in the spiritual welfare of others rather than just in their material necessities.

 

May the Lord grant us to grow in our spiritual life. If we know that we have a defect, let us try to get rid of it: gossiping, impatience, pride, impurity, lack of prayer, lack of faith. If we realize that our love is weak, let us exercise it more: spend time with people we don’t like, be nice to people who have hurt you, help more the poor, pray more, invite people to church. May our Lady help us to grow, because we are her children.

–Fr. Andrew