My family and I live close to St. Meinrad Archabbey and, this morning, we attended Mass at the Archabbey church. Albeit virtually (which is a whole ‘nother subject but don’t get me started) but we were there.
The thick and weighty silence that punctuates the parts of the Mass at the Archabbey, the chanting of the Psalter, the quiet shuffling of the monk’s feet, the architecture, the solemn joy with which the monks sing…so beautiful; it feeds my soul and brings tears to my eyes each and every time.
I don’t know the monk who preached the homily but it was outstanding and I wanted to talk about it for a bit. The gospel reading for today is Matthew 13:1-23. Go and read that before you proceed.
This is the parable of the seed and the sower. I want to tell you right out of the gate that my thoughts on this are not entirely my own. The monk who preached the homily did the exegetical work (and it was outstanding) and his words I will basically echo here, with a few of my own additions.
If you’re like me you’ve probably heard this text preached a few times. Every time I’ve heard it preached, the focus was always on the soil. Usually, the preacher would draw some application about being the right kind of soil. But the brother that preached this morning did something brilliant with this parable and it needs to be heard.
His focus in the parable was not on the soil. Rather, it was on the opposition to the seed. Look at the text and you’ll see it. See it in your mind and heart.
Hungry, squawking birds (I always picture crows) gobbling up the seed.
Rocky, flinty soil that seems to almost be “bullet proof” as the seed literally bounces off the hard, cracked surface.
Scorching sun that blasts things to powder under its relentless gaze.
Spiny thorns literally choking the life out of the tender shoots that bloom.
Do you see it?
The sower and the seed are opposed. It’s a powerful image, isn’t it?
Kinda reminds me of the world we live in today. Make no mistake, friends, the Sower and His seed are under assault and open opposition. The gospel of Jesus Christ and His person are openly opposed by the current culture in which we find ourselves. The Church is under open and naked attack by our great enemy and those who are under his control.
The Sower and His seed are opposed.
In the face of the world and the darkness that seems to grow on a moment by moment basis, what are we to do? We who are the Church, we the seed sown by the master Sower. What are we to do? Do we take up arms? Do we retreat from the squawking and ravenous enemies of the Light? Do we beg for rain that this dry and hot sun of opposition would be banished from the Earth? How can we fight against the thorns that seem to choke the life out of us?
I submit to you for this answer our Old Testament reading for today. Our master Sower speaks in Isaiah 55:10-11,
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I intend, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ!
We who are the seed of the Sower of the Word, look and listen and take heart! Look at the promise of God! He has promised. The Sower has spoken. His seed will bring forth sprouts and bread to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness! His Word will not return to Him empty. His Word shall accomplish all that He intends! His Word shall prosper in the thing for which He sent it!
In the face of a decaying society and blazing heat of the opposition of the enemy, do not despair beloved!
Hope in Christ!
His Word shall not fail!
His Word shall not fail!
His Word shall not fail!
“Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!” – Psalm 46:10
There is so much noise.
So much noise in our world today.
So much noise in my own mind and heart and soul.
I long for peace.
Maybe you do too. Maybe you’re like me and just want to turn off the noise of racism and viruses and shouting voices of dissension and hate and destruction.
Our Creator summons us. He calls to us. Not in the loudness, not in the chaos, not in the fear that threatens to consume our world.
Our Creator whispers to us.
Can you hear Him?
Are you listening?
As I have journeyed into the historic Church, one of the things I find so glaringly is a lack of noise. The great saints of our tradition, great minds of Christian thought and the Church Fathers all seemed to have some things in common.
One thing I noticed that they all seem to have in common is quiet; a quiet heart and mind, kneeling before God our Maker to listen. There is a contemplative depth to their writings and prayers and liturgy and thought that we seem to lack today…even in the Church. As I’ve thought about why that is, I really think it’s a lack of stillness.
I wonder…are we afraid of stillness? Are we afraid of what we’ll find when we come before God and sit in silence and wait for His voice, His Word to us? What will we find?
There is so much that seems uncertain in our lives, our homes, our world. The world seems to be shifting on some spiritual and sociologically tectonic plates constantly. Nothing seems solid. Nothing seems certain.
In this time of uncertainty, God calls us to know. He tells us that there is a Rock in our ever-shifting world. There is a Cornerstone. Truth exists and it stands unbroken before and after all time.
“…that I am God.”
It seems like everything these days is up for grabs…including identity. We take our identity cues from what we see on TV, social media, the mass media, our friends. So-called gender fluidity and racism and all of it threatens to overwhelm us and we don’t even know who we are anymore. Don’t think for one instance that our great enemy, Satan, isn’t behind all of this. But, in the midst of all our identity crisis, we can know one thing for certain.
One thing that has never changed and will never change.
One thing that has stood before all time and will stand when time as we know it passes away.
He is and always was and always will be.
He is the great I AM.
He is YHWH, the unnamed One.
His identity has never changed. He remains unchanged. Oh, what comfort that brings me! I pray it brings you comfort as well!
I just want you to know that God is and always has been and always will be.
And He desperately loves you. He loves you so much that He was willing to become incarnate, to become His own creation so that He could remake you and me and us into a new creation.
One fit for a perfect relationship with Him for all time.
Did you hear me?
You who are tired and weary and trying to block out the noise…God loves you.
Be still before Him…His peace will come.
Know that there is Truth. That truth has a name. His name is Jesus, Yeshua, the Son of the Living God, begotten of the Father before all time; God from God, Light from Light.
He is God alone.
He is the One who has redeemed you.
He is the One who has come for you…because He loves you.
He is the One who is and was and always will be.
Rest in Him.
Do you hear Him?