Sunday, July 12, 2020
How you can frustrate God, and how you can help (Sunday homily)
One of the things every farmer here certainly knows
is that this land can be tremendously fruitful.
Of course that assumes good preparation, good seed, and –
this is on all our minds right now – enough rain.
Please God, give us the rain we need (and no more!)
In a word, these readings are about fruitfulness.
God himself is always fruitful. His word, his will, cannot fail.
God creates because he loves; God loves all that he creates.
When a child delights in building sand castles,
this is a shadow of how much God revels in his Creation.
The Divine Farmer who strews galaxies across space with abandon [is]
the Heavenly Artist [who] makes a Mona Lisa in the tiniest creature;
No detail of your existence escapes the care of God;
No matter how many he may create, only you are uniquely you.
But here is a great mystery: If God’s will always bears fruit,
Then what goes wrong?
If God himself farmed these fields,
why wouldn’t he always have a bumper crop?
The answer is that God chooses to involve us,
and we are the wild-card.
You and I can frustrate his creative work;
Or we can make his work more fruitful.
How do we do these things?
You’ve already figured out the next part:
Our sins and neglect obviously get in God’s way.
Throughout the Bible and on the lips of so many saints,
God begs us to pray.
So many times heaven has sent the Mother of God to us –
Guadalupe, Lourdes, Knock, Akita, Fatima and more –
And more than anything else, Mary begs us to pray.
The most astounding detail of the Fatima visions in 1917,
was not forecasting the coming of more wars throughout the century.
No, it was that Mary said those wars could be prevented,
if only people high and low would respond to her message.
And her message was both to popes and bishops, but equally to ordinary Catholics,
everyone who could pray the Rosary
and make other acts of repentance and reparation.
That’s everyone, including you and me.
It’s funny how much we focus on the curious or obscure aspects
of Mary’s message at Fatima, but ignore the clearest message: PRAY!
You might wonder, why should my sins have any effect on God’s plan?
Each of us makes up a part of the whole Body of Christ.
The Body works better when every part is letting life flow,
And following the signals coming from the head – that is, Christ.
When you and I commit mortal sin, we block the flow of grace.
You may think a finger or toe or patch of skin isn’t important:
Until it decides not to work. Then you’re knocked off your game.
The good news is, we can also help God’s plan;
and the power of grace far exceeds the power of sin;
the strength of God is far greater than the weakness of men.
For one, you and I can heal the deadness
we bring to the Body of Christ by a good confession.
God is always ready to revive us and make us powerful with his grace.
We may think our little part doesn’t matter, but God says otherwise.
And to go back to the farm imagery of the Gospel, consider this:
What is it the farmer spreads over the fields, to make them fruitful?
“Fertilizer” – but mostly, that’s manure!
Stuff we don’t want, we don’t like, that is offensive:
Look how God puts it to use to make a difference!
So for anyone who says, “I’m worthless as…” fill in the blank,
God says, “Fine! Have I got a job for you!”