Saturday, June 16, 2012
A SERMON FOR THE ELEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
It's either a feast or a famine...
I thought I might share my sermon (on Mark 4:26-34) for tomorrow with you.
Faith, once sown, grows and gives birth to virtue and even to perfect charity if we cooperate even if it means not just struggle but sacrifice.
Players who don't give their all in a match cannot be surprised if they don't make it to the world cup.
Mark has already told the story of the Sower. So this passage can be read as referring to the good seed. This is the seed sown in good soil; it ought to bring forth fruit in plenty. The farmer is Christ who sows liberally and trusts in the good soil of man to respond. The day is the good times in our lives and that of the Church while the night is the time of trial, temptation and persecution.
While the farmer doesn't need to know how his seed grows Christ Himself knows very well how His grace is active in our lives. He respects our freedom and our autonomy and leaves us free to choose whether or not we grow, how fast we grow and whether and when we bring forth the fruit that He rightly expects.
The blade is the fear of God and of loss of heaven and the possibility of damnation. Through fear of God we learn obedience to His word, and His will and to the rightful authority in the Church. The ear can mean resistance to evil, and avoidance of sin through which we learn prudence, the capacity to know what is the right thing to do, what is the will of God and how to follow it effectively. Finally the full grain can mean perfect charity through which we learn to truly love God and our neighbour for their own sake. Perfect charity is salvation.
Not satisfied with this part the Church further presents us with Christ's teaching that the Kingdom (meaning both the Church and our interior life) is like a mustard seed. It begins small and in fear and trembling but once grown it is mighty, sheltering the poor and needy with charity, mercy and compassion while feeding and nourishing all mankind with the truth of Christ.
Why does Jesus then not say all this plainly? Why does He teach by parables? Our Lord is forming gardeners of His garden, His vineyard and He keeps the true meaning of His teaching, mission, identity, future passion, death and resurrection to His disciples so that they can teach the people after these events, when they can accept it, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our lives and the life of the Church have good and bad times. Sometimes life is good and it is easy to believe. Other times there are many crosses and temptations and faith is demanding and difficult. These times can be the very times, when, if properly used, we can make swift growth in virtue. Likewise for the Church there are difficult times when we must struggle and defend the Faith but these are the times when the Church grows stronger. Our Lord has entrusted to the Apostles and their successors the bishops united to the Pope the task of nourishing our faith and sowing the seed in each generation. Sometimes this mission is carried out in the daylight of welcome and sometimes in the night of persecution.
Our Government is preparing laws that will introduce abortion into Ireland, try to force the clergy to break the seal of the confessional, and is also trying to get religion and chaplains out of our schools. The hospitals, the prisons, and the army will follow until they have entirely secularised Irish society. That’s only part of the story.
If you want a priest to hear your confession and anoint you in hospital when you are dying you had better fight for him while you are alive and kicking.
Now is the time to let our political leaders know that you won't take this lying down.
The Holy Father recently called for the reclaiming of the term 'Ecclesia Militans' or the 'Church Militant' - the Church fighting, the Church struggling for Christ and His kingdom. If you like the Church in Jihad!
Players who don't give their all in a match cannot be surprised if they don't make it to the world cup. If you want the crown of glory you must struggle and fight for it both in your private life and in public. Christ gives you the chance to grow in virtue and charity by struggling for the faith now, today. He is asking you to stand up for your faith. He is asking you to stand against those who would rob you and your children and your children's children of their Catholic heritage, of eternal life! He is asking you to nurture within you the seed of faith and conversion, to produce not just fear, not just virtue, but perfect charity.
He may even be asking if you are willing to die for Him. What will your answer be?