July 19, 2020 – 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/071920.cfm)
Who among us here have witnessed the actual growing of a seed, or any plant or of a person? We could have claimed that we have witnessed it just as parents looked closely as their child grows, or just as a farmer tends everyday his plants and animals. Yet, because growing is a process, it takes time and very slow. That is why, we don’t usually see with our own eyes how a seed begins to sprout and becomes a tree, or how a flower begins to grow and bloom or how a person develops physically and grows old. We only notice the gradual changes as time also goes by.
However, thanks to our latest technology because a camera can capture this process of growing particularly of a plant or changes that happen in our nature. Through a photographic technique called “time-lapse” we can witness how a seed begins to sprout, take its roots and come out from the soil and become a full bloom plant. This always amazes me to see that.
I want you to watch this short time-lapse of a growing seed in silence to bring yourself also into reflection and into calmness in the midst of noise, stress and anxiety that are around us today. (Click the link below)
With this amazement and wonder of the process of growing, this brings me into reflection for this Sunday’s Gospel. Jesus tells the people about the three parables of the Kingdom of Heaven. These are the parable of weeds among the wheat, the mustard seed and of the yeast.
In all these three parables, what is common among them is the theme of growing. From here, I would like to invite you that we dwell deeper into these three parables and recognize how God invites us today and how God is growing in us.
I would like to begin with the parables of the mustard seed and of the yeast. Indeed, these are invitations of God for letting us grow, to be mature and to develop.
We understand GROWING or GROWTH to be dynamic. It involves changes, adaptations, shedding off of what was old and transforming into something new. Meaning, growing is a form of transformation.Tweet
Both parables, tell us of the process of growth in a non-aggressive way because growth is gradual, silent and calm. Moreover, it is empowering and life-giving.
This reminds us too of the wonder of creation. Creation is silent and relaxed, yet, destruction is noisy, distressful, aggressive and violent. In destruction, there is no growing because it suppresses and destroys. Surely, this is how we would find life distressful, filled with anxiety and worries, because when we do not grow or when we stop growing then, it leads us to destruction.
And this is not what God wants us. God’s desire is that we develop into our full potential as what has God desired us to be. Thus, we are called to continue growing no matter how our hair have turned into white or our wrinkles have become more visible.
Likewise, growing also leads us towards maturity. The first parable of the weeds among the wheat leads us into this invitation, MATURITY. Remember, the owner of the good seeds waited for the wheat to mature before weeding out the weeds, that were sowed by the enemy. To weed out the weeds when the wheat are still young, it will endanger the life of the young wheats. The owner has to wait when the wheat becomes mature and ready for harvesting.
This means that only when we have grown and become mature that we also gain wisdom to recognize what is bad and good, what is unhealthy and healthy, what is from the evil one and what is from God.
This tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven is already in us because God is with us. The seed has been planted on earth as Jesus was born for us. The Lord is already in our hearts as we are being baptized. Moreover, the Kingdom of Heaven is manifested in us when we also become mature in our faith and relationships with God and with others.
How do we recognize that we have become mature? It is by being able to recognize the works of God and the works of the evil one, the works of kindness and the works of selfishness and to choose freely God.
Now, these are the signs as well as the invitations for us to recognize the Kingdom of Heaven and to let God to grow in us.
First, as the mustard seed grows and the flour reacts with the yeast, the kingdom of Heaven also begins in HUMILITY not in any form of aggression or arrogance. It is humble and simple. Thus, the kingdom of heaven can be very present in a family who makes the effort to pray together, in a couple who expresses their faithfulness despite their differences, in a person who shows true concern and generosity to another who is in need of help.
Second, the kingdom of heaven is empowering and life-giving. The kingdom of heaven is present when our community empowers the weak. A community that discriminates, judges, condemns and indifferent never empowers but it oppresses the weak. However, when our community empowers, then it also gives life. Let us also remember that to be able to give life is to give more chances and opportunities for growth. To give life is to give hope. Therefore, our community is truly a kingdom of heaven when we uphold and protect every life to survive and to mature.
As we recognize the Kingdom of Heaven in us today, let us also allow the Lord to grow in us, to bring changes and transformation in ourselves, in our attitudes and relationships and in the way we look at things in life. As we continually grow and become mature, we may also become individually, a person for others and also a community for others that gives life, that gives hope and allows chances and growth for the weak and the helpless. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR