Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 5:34 PM
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Homily, 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (B) -- Msgr. Joseph K. Ntuwa 6-13-2021

Ezekiel 17:22-24; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10; Mark 4:26-34 

We live in the age of the instant product. We have instant soup, instant coffee and tea, instant photos and pretty well instant anything.  We know that with instant things the quality suffers, but we are willing to sacrifice that for the time and effort saved. It’s all about convenience. Our age could also be called the age of the push button. All we have to do is press a button or turn on a switch and things happen!  The push button encourages minimum effort, least cost and a shortcut approach to everything. But there is a danger in living in the world of the push button, as certain things cannot be rushed. From our own experience, we know that all good things take time and effort to develop. To grow to maturity as a human being is the job of a lifetime. To build good relationships with someone takes time -- there are no shortcuts for things such as these.

In the first parable of today’s Gospel, Jesus compares the kingdom of God to what happens when seed is sown by a farmer. The cycle of growth follows its own secret rhythm; how it all happens the farmer does not know. Even though nothing much seems to be happening, the miracle of growth is taking place. The farmer cannot improve the crop by staying awake at night and worrying; the seed is nurtured in its own silence. The harvest will not be rushed by those who are restless for instant results.

Like a seed planted in the ground, God works in hidden ways. We cannot always understand what God is doing or why things are turning out the way they are. We wonder why God is not doing more to end suffering or why so many people do not believe in the gospel of love. But somehow our Heavenly Creator is using all the world’s events — both the good and the bad — to bring His Kingdom to fruition. All we can do is trust that God has it all under control. It is God’s kingdom, not ours.  As Fr. Ken Untener clearly put it on the occasion of the Mass for Deceased Priests, October 25, 1979, “We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers not master builders, ministers not messiahs.”

Today's parable, which is addressed to a community physically threatened and plagued by doubts arising from unmet expectations, harkens back to Job’s losing argument with God. It reminds the faithful and all of us that we do not cause the tides to roll, the sun to rise or the seed to sprout. God’s ways are not our ways; therefore, we are called to trust God beyond limits of our understanding. Saint Paul told the Corinthians as much when he said, “We walk by faith not by sight.”

In the second parable we learn that a tiny mustard seed can grow into a great plant. God can use small things to do great works. We should never think that we are too insignificant, too weak, or too flawed to be part of God’s plan. God may have great things in store for us if we are open to his will and listening to his voice.

Each of us is here to celebrate the Eucharist because someone has sown the seeds of faith in our life. We had an encounter with someone or something that took hold and began to grow within our hearts. Whether your journey to this Church today took a traditional or untraditional path, let us praise God for the unexpected people in our lives that have passed along the seeds of faith. Our witness as Christians both individually and collectively brings about the Kingdom. It is in the seemingly mundane, selfless, and small acts that we sow the seeds of hope for others. There are many things you can do; such as, teaching a faith formation class, leading RCIA or a Bible Study; discussing the Sunday readings with your kids; praying with your spouse; openly discussing your faith with those around you, both Catholics and non-Catholics; and actively living out your faith through service, prayer and sacraments. 

As we celebrate the Eucharist today, I invite you to remember the unexpected people in your life who have contributed to your faith journey. And, as we go out into the world, let us commit ourselves to being agents of growing God’s kingdom, one small seed at time. We can no more predict what the harvest will be than we can cause its growth. This is how it is with the kingdom of God.

 

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