Homily — 11th Sunday OT B 6/17/12
The kids got out of school this past week, we had our school’s 8th Grade Graduation last Monday, and the rest of the school got out yesterday.
This year I went to 5 graduation parties and 2 commencements. Normally I only make one commencement, Good Shepherd, but this year my one and only nephew graduated with high honors from his High School up near Boston, and so two weeks ago my parents and I went up to see him graduate. Our Catholic school had 23 graduate, while my nephew’s had three hundred twenty three. Needless to say, I am all graduationed out!
Today’s Gospel however, reminds us that even when we leave the school classroom, whether for just the summer break, or for good at graduation, God still teaches us, and expects us to learn things, through the most everyday events.
The growth of plants, the tiny seeds, the large trees, the birds, the farmers – even these common things we see each day are parabolic, they have a deeper lesson to teach us.
The Gospel today says With many such parables, Jesus spoke the Word to them. . . Without parables, Jesus did not speak to them.
Each day, Jesus is speaking loudly and frequently to every one of us, even if we never pick up a Bible. Jesus very often speaks to us through nature, through current events, through other people’s words and actions, through the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Some situation or passing comment at work or play may be one of those parables with deeper meaning, that Jesus is using to help us grow in our relationship to God and others.
With many such parables, Jesus speaks, and without parables, Jesus doesn’t speak. In some ways, life is one big parable, one big story with a deeper, hidden meaning. As St. Paul says “We walk by faith, not by sight.” When see things with the eyes of faith, we see beyond their superficial meaning.
Life is full of many cryptic parables, yes; But, to his own disciples, Jesus explained everything to them in private.
To understand what Jesus is saying to us, we must go in private to see Jesus and ask him to explain things to us.
What this means is, we must take time to pray each day, or we will miss what Jesus is trying to teach us.
Prayer is where Jesus explains the deeper meaning of things to us. If we get in the habit of taking even just 10 minutes every day for quiet prayer and reflection, Jesus will start connecting the dots of our lives for us, he’ll say “remember when this happened to you a while back? That was me trying to teach you something in this other area of your life.”
One of the parables Jesus gives us today in Scripture is the Mustard Seed. Of all the plants in a garden, the mustard plant starts out as the tiniest of seeds, so tiny that you might wonder what would be the use in planting it.
Yet it ends up being the biggest plant in the garden, growing nine to twelve feet in height.
The lesson here is that the seeds of faith Jesus gives us might look tiny and insignificant compared to other things in the world. The Catholic faith may appear to be not as flashy, not as influential, not as relevant as the latest fad or political movement.
Yet just plant that seed of faith in a person’s heart, or in a family, or in a community, and watch what kind of beautiful, giant plant will grow up. But unless we plant that mustard seed of faith in our hearts, it will remain a tiny, unimpressive seed.
Lastly, as we honor our Father’s this weekend, it should be obvious that God the Father many times speaks through the words and actions of our earthly fathers. The life, love, support, encouragement, and fatherly guidance earthly fathers and father figures have given us are parables of the deeper and even greater life, love, support, encouragement, and fatherly guidance God the Father gives us.
May this Eucharist make us more aware of the many parables Jesus each day sends us in the school of our daily lives, and may this Eucharist also help us to resolve to each day spend time in silent prayer alone with Jesus, so that He may in private explain to us everything our loving, Heavenly Father wants us to know and learn.