Lord it is good to give thanks to you
2 Corinthians 5:6-10 Whether we are living in the body or exiled from it, we are intent on pleasing the Lord.
Mark 4: 26-44 The mustard seed, the smallest of all the seeds, grows into the biggest shrub of all.
This is what the Kingdom of God is like: The sower went out to sow some seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing: how, he does not know. Of its own accord the lad produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest is come.
For so many of us, our lives are so busy, so many deadlines and commitments to meet, so many tasks to be completed each day. Our lives can easily be reduced to doing, achieving, producing. Pleasing others through our achievements can become our driving force.
Measuring our well-being and sense of self by economic outcomes as we know, sells our self very short. It’s impossible to recognise ourselves as God’s masterpiece, as Paul calls us, if our predominant point of reference is the size of our bank balance, our house or our car!
Likewise a government which focuses on economics as its primary task, will sell its people short in the same way that we can do to ourselves.
Even religious people get caught up in the same kind of economy by imagining that if they multiply the prayers they say, the religious events they attend and the number of Saints they invoke, they will somehow strike a good bargain with God.
We create the illusion that we have to do it all. In this mode, we, rather than God become the centre of our own little universe. We close our borders, personal, family, national to others as we focus on our own security, our own progress, our own salvation.
Then Love is born among us and turns our world on its head. Love breaks through our borders, our barriers, our preoccupations with ourselves and our performances. Our focus becomes someone else.
Suddenly we are aware of our own barren ground, the soil that has been waiting for the seeds of love to be sown. Somehow, love starts to grow all by itself and we are astonished at how differently the world appears.
Now we are no longer the centre of things, we can see more clearly.
The birth of a baby, the gift of married love that grows in surprising ways, the cry of a sister or brother in need finally reaches our heart and it is as if we are born again!
The earth has shifted and our centre is no longer where it was. All the important things, deadlines, productivity, future planning, economic success and its trappings, all have to make way when love really hits town.
Love you see, asks nothing of us but is pure gift. Our economic, busy self has real trouble dealing with that!
Love, while asking nothing of us, confronts us with the deepest possible questions about ourselves, about human relationships, about the ultimate meaning of life.
It’s as if love draws us into herself and says “Come and see what I’d like to create with you: a beautiful faithful marriage, a brand-new child, a lifetime of memories that will never fade because you have lived them and grown them in times of joy and in times of suffering.”
“Come and look beyond where you have dared look before and listen, really listen to the cry of the person seeking refuge here, to the deep pain of one wounded by the abuse of a person she or he once trusted, the plaintive yearning of one who feels beyond love’s embrace because of personal or family history, because of marriage break-down, because of sexual orientation.”
For love to grow, we need now and then to clear the land, let it lie fallow, and then wait for the seed to be sown, knowing that we need to wait and rely on the sower to sow in the sower’s own good time.
Fallow time is not the easiest place to be. Everyone else seems to be doing so well and here am I struggling to hold my head up. I look silly. I feel the odd one out. I’ve got nothing to show for all my efforts. Nothing seems to be happening!
Fallow time comes to us all and without it the soil of our hearts will not be ready for the arrival of love’s seed.
There is no point in being impatient and trying to hurry the sower along. The seeds of love will be sown when the time is right, when love decides, when the right circumstances for good growth are at hand.
So today, whether your crops are well developed, whether they are newly planted, whether your land simply lies fallow right now, know that love will find you, in love’s good time.
Sit quietly during our Mass now and recognise that the work of our salvation is in Love’s hands, in God’s hands, the sower who knows well when our waiting time will be done.
We pray a blessing today on all your marriages, past, present and in preparation. We pray a blessing on the marriages that have birthed us, nurtured us and inspired us.
As we appreciate the commitment of you, our married brothers and sisters, we look to you to show us the face of Jesus as you deepen your love for one another and bless the rest of us with the sacrament of your marriage as only married people can. As we bless you today, we look for the blessing that you bring to us and thank you for the grace of the love you sow among us.
The sower went out to sow some seed on the land…………