Monday, July 11, 2011

Sunflower Seeds Homily

A few weeks ago I planted some sunflower seeds. I'm not much of a gardener but I have really enjoyed the few things that I have planted. It's actually a great mystery to me and I kind of delight like a child when I see things grow. In the fall my aunt had given me a large head from her sunflower plant and told me how to take the seeds out when to plant them. I have a house with a few other priests where I go on my day off so I decided to plant them there.

As I mentioned, I don’t really know anything about this so i figured i better try it in a few different places. I planted some in the back yard by our Mary shrine, some in the back corner, some in a planter, some in the front yard. A few weeks later I could see the difference. In the back corner nothing seemed to grow, by the Mary shrine a few tiny ones, in another spot a couple grew, but have already withered away because the soil is not very deep, and in the front yard they are growing beautifully, already a few feet tall. I have to believe that all the seeds I planted had the potential to grow, but only the ones in the good soil have grown into what they are intended to be.

The same is true for us when we come to mass. There are a lot of seeds spread out here today. God's Word is literally dumped out in abundance on us. Every time we go to mass the seed is spread when we hear the readings and especially when we receive His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. His Word is effective and His Word has great potential. Ahhh... but here's the catch. The Word of God needs good soil.

So the question is: "How is your soil today?"

Is it hard like the path? Is it rocky? Is it Thorny?

How do we make our soil rich moist soil where God's seed can grow?

First off, if there are any big stones or rocks in your life you need to get rid of them. What do I mean by this? Sin. If there are any grave or serious sins that you are toying with in your life, they are keeping the seed of God's word from really growing in you. Get rid of the stones. Go to confession. Let that encounter with the Lord in the person of the priest remove some of the rocky areas of your life. Then the seed can have deep roots in rich soil.

Second, has your soil become hard and dry? Does God seem distant or unimportant in your life? If so, the seeds not going to have much of a chance of growing in you. Our soil must be deep and moist. My sunflower plant in the back corner only grew a few inches and shriveled because there were only a couple inches of soil. Your soil must be deep. How do we deepen our soil? Sunday Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith but it can't be the only time that we pray. In order for us to have some depth we must spend some time each and every day in intense, focused, solid prayer. For beginners that may be 10 or 15 minutes, up to a Holy Hour for those most advanced. One of the best ways to spend this time is with the readings for the upcoming Sunday. If you've spent some time each day meditating on this, reflecting upon it, thinking about it, contemplating it, dwelling in it you will come to mass with very deep and rich soil.

Finally, Is your path is thorny? If there are areas in your life that maybe aren't even sinful, but simply do not foster the gospel way of life there may be some things that are slowing or choking your growth. These are usually the attachments to people, places or things. Is there someone in your life that you are just giving too much energy too? Is there somewhere in your life that you are using as an escape? Is there something that you find yourself too attached too or too consumed by? These thorns will also detract from the growth that can come from the seed planted in the Sunday Eucharist.

So yes, Sunflower seeds will in fact grow into a large and beautiful plant, but they do require good soil. The same is true for the Word of God. It is effective. It is being poured out in abundance when you come to mass. If you want it to grow in your life, you gotta have good soil. How’s your soil? If it is rocky, hard, or thorny, do what you can to come to the mass prepared with rich, deep, moist soil. If your soil is good then the Word of God can grow and blossom fully and beautifully in your life.

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