Homily for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“I know a shortcut!” I don’t know about you, but those words always makes me uneasy! Especially with many street in the city torn up and the harbour bridge down to one lane is frustrating enough, but when someone whom we are traveling with says… “I know a shortcut,” usually means that we should have stayed on the main road or traveled at a different time.
Society loves shortcuts. Especially, when we live in such a ‘rushed’ world! Even though we have so many gadgets to make life easier, we still look for a shortcut so that we can get onto the next thing. Why do we do this? Answer: Because we have created an ‘instant society’ that does not want to wait for anything. We want results, we want to see them… yesterday!
In everything we do, it needs to be the fastest, convenient and economical. I remember when we got we got our first microwave back in the 1980,s… took up most of the cupboard area. Then we moved onto bread makers, to the instant pot and now we’re into hot air fryers. And if we’re not interested in that… and do not want to cook a meal, we can pick up the phone and call, ‘skip the dishes’ and have it delivered, or we can chose to have all the ingredients are sent to us in a box and we prepare it.
We pay with debit or credit cards… gone are the days of cashing cheques and keeping some cash for our weekly expenses.
We now have devises on our cell phones that can lock our house doors, turn on lights and so on.
We have these things called “Google” “Hey google, play some jazz music… or hey google, what is the temperature in Saint John.”
We go to our computers and tablets for recipients, or watch a video on how to do a certain procedure or do a certain repair around our homes. These things are great.
However, living in this type of society, we tend to forget that certain things cannot be rushed. To grow into maturity as a human being is a job of a lifetime. We know that to build good solid relationships with others takes time. To get to know and understand our children or grandchildren takes patience and time.
Again, don’t get me wrong… many of today’s labour saving devices are good. They do take the monotony out of life and work. But there is a real danger in living in an instant world. Living in an instant world encourages minimum effort, the least cost, the shortcut approach to everything. It may lure us into always searching the easy option-even when there is no easy option. Why visit the elderly or someone who sick when you can send a text?
In the Gospel for today, Jesus tells a story of a person, someone who sows seeds, perhaps a farmer who does his part-he sows seed. Now things were beyond his control. The one thing he wanted to see happened, namely, for the seed grow, he couldn’t do anything about. All he could do was wait in patience, humility and hope.
Yet life calls for these virtues. We all know of people who think that they must always be up and doing something-as if everything depended on them. They are unable to let things be, to be patient, to be humble, to wait. And yet, many times that is what we need to do. We need to stop… and be still. Growing up in Kings County, I have always known gardeners, farmers and guess what: they are very patient, humble and had a great respect for nature. They knew how to let God take over. Even though we’re not all farmers, we can learn from them.
We may not make the seeds grow, but we need to plant them. We plant seeds when we attend to others…when we walk in solidarity for a particular cause. For example we plant the seeds of love when we try to stamp out hate of other cultures, creeds or ways of life.
Look at the people across this country who walked in solidarity with our muslim brothers and sisters after the senseless murders of Muslim family in London, Ontario.
Or during these times of pandemic, what about planting the seed of a vaccine? Or those recovering, or trying to make sense of a senseless situation, we can help by planting seeds of prayer, presence, and encouragement. Like the farmer, we do not ‘possess’ these seeds or control the situation. That’s God’s area. Rather we wait patiently.
The pandemic has really taught me (and still trying to teach me) to back off and to be. It has given me time to look at nature, and to learn from it. Things take time to grow. And they take time to ripen. Nature doesn’t take shortcuts. All the seasons are needed. We need all the seasons as well. Nothing is ever wasted.
Look at the life of Jesus. Before he began his public ministry, he spent 30 years at Nazareth. Nothing is told about him during that time but it was not a waste of valuable time. For Jesus, this was a time of working as a carpenter, a time of formation…learning and listening… a time of quiet growth for him… a time of preparation. And then he began… for three years walking among us, he planted seeds: preaching, feeding, healing, embracing and loving. The same seeds that we are called to plant. Life is a time of growth-we can’t rush it. The parable today shows us that God is at work. Our call is to sow seeds. Then God does the rest. Just ask any grower, gardener or farmer… no shortcuts… we plant… we wait… and we trust. Amen.