Our Gift Back To God (and Mary)

So we come to the core period of Advent, the nervousness from what we have reflected on at the beginning of this season (the eschaton and the second coming) should now be waning as we see with the coming celebration of the Nativity how much God desires us to succeed. He came among us to help us get home. We now focus intensely on the gift of Christ – as we should.

But this weekend Holy Mother Church asks to look at the other side of this gift from God – our gift back to Him. Today’s Gospel scene is one which Pope Francis has talked about a lot – it is a foundational reading in his spirituality and he desires it to be ours as well. Why? Because so does God.

Frequently Pope Francis has talked about the first thing that Mary did after submitting to the will of God; she goes in haste to help others. It is a call to Christians for Christian action, especially Catholics, who might have the tendency to celebrate feasts of the church and not put them to action.

Christ teaches that the greatest commandments are Love God and Love your neighbor[1] – this calls for action – this calls us to go in haste to others. So, I ask myself, and you; how are we doing with our gift back to God? I for one need to be better – my gift back to God is very, very, anemic.

Of course this gift of action to God and others is full of uncertainty and doubt. It is fraught with various forms of persecution from being ignored and marginalized, to being derided or rejected, all the way to being attacked and yes, even possibly martyred.

But so it was with Mary; she knew that her journey and her action would be difficult – right from the beginning. Going in haste to anywhere in Judea was not like driving a long distance today – it was dangerous and life threatening – but she did it. Advent reminds us that she wasn’t alone, Christ was with her; and as He was in her – she was brave in Him.

So, how are we doing with our gift back to God?

Once again, this past year we have seen many attacks on the personal liberty of religion – and some have shown us great acts of Christian action; worthy gifts back to our Lady and Lord. Here is one that epitomizes heroism with and for God; an example of gifting back to God worthy of His (and Mary’s) gift to us:

At Brandon High School, in Mississippi, the marching band was ordered off the field by their school board because they performed ‘How Great Thou Art’ at halftime in violation of a federal court order. Todd Starnes from foxnews.com writes what happened next:

Something must be done to right this wrong, people said. A message had to be sent to the likes of Judge Reeves. Locals gathered in coffee shops and garages to devise their plan.

And what they did — would become known as the musical shot heard around the world. During halftime of Friday night’s game – a lone voice began to sing the forbidden song. “Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee,” the singer sang.

Brittany Mann was there and she witnessed the entire moment of defiance.  “We were just sitting there and then one by one people started to stand,” she told me. “At first, it started out as a hum but the sound got louder and louder.” She said it was a “truly incredible” moment to watch hundreds of people singing together in the stadium.[2]

This isn’t a faraway issue; ask the football team at Naperville Central – since they too are under legal attack for quietly praying as a group. So, how are we doing with our gift back to God?

Friends, what is our story?

  • Are we intimidated by the social environment?
  • Do we sit back in the shadows and wish it were otherwise?
  • Do we allow the children of our towns who proclaim Christ publically to do it alone?

Or

  • Do we trust in the Lord and travel with Him?
  • Do we, like Mary, go in haste to bring her son to others?
  • Do we hold our heads high in the Lord to those in our communities who look at us with derision and threatening distaste?
  • Do we support those in our communities, especially our children, who proclaim Christ publically? Do we stand with them and proclaim our faith?

Brothers and sisters, we celebrate the birth of our Lord in five days. We rejoice in the great gift of God made man. We rejoice that our redeemer was born to walk among us and offer Himself for us.

But we also, celebrate another gift, that greatest of human action – ‘fiat’! Mary’s yes that allowed us to rejoice. How will we thank her? By the gifts of empty words, shallow prayers and wistful wishes; or will we follow up her example, make her actions our own and also go in haste to those who need Christ in their lives. Will we celebrate by being happy and inspired for a day, only to have the effects fade; or will we follow her and constantly hold our heads high in Christ in public and endure what she endured with her Son? Let’s give her and Him thanks for their gifts by bearing the cross of discipleship all the way to Calvary and beyond.

Let’s make our gift to Christ, and His mother, as meaningful as theirs is to us.

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[1] Matt 22:36-40
 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” (RSV)
[2] http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/08/21/school-band-told-to-stop-performing-how-great-thou-art.html

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Go Out

Many U.S. Catholics (probably most) who try to live their religious beliefs have over the past 20 years become increasingly hesitant in public demonstration of such a faith-life. But to live our Catholic faith we need to follow our Lord both within our hearts and in the public. Today’s readings[1] bring to the fore that God relies on our participation in His mission of salvation.  All three readings revolve around people, like us, going into the world to bring God to those who have never known Him or have forgotten His message.  This can be a scary activity, especially if we think we have the whole weight of God’s plan on our shoulders – but we don’t.  God only expects from us our witness of faith – the rest is up to Him.  But, this is still a scary activity.  What if I can’t live up to the truths I am proclaiming? What if my actions belie my spoken message? What damage will I do to Christ’s mission by failing?

But today’s readings show us that these fears are unfounded as long as our heart embraces Christ’s message.  These people in the readings are normal people. Amos tells us that he was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores (which, by the way, was someone who went around and punched holes in an edible, but not very tasty fruit, days before harvesting). St. Paul of course was educated but was a tentmaker. The disciples were mostly fishermen and tradesmen.  They were not great men in the eyes of their society – most were limited in their ability for discourse – and yet they accepted God’s calling and went out to proclaim.  They were not afraid of messing up as much as they were afraid of not living up to the Lord’s commission; they trusted in the Lord. They understood, very well, the words of the prophet Jeremiah ‘But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you you shall go, and whatever I command you you shall speak. Be not afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.” Then the Lord put forth his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.’[2]

Brothers and sisters, it is time to put down our fear of going out into the world and evangelize.  Fear is the tool of Satan.  Our words will suffice if we are united with God.  So what if we make a mistake – we are not perfect. It is less the words than it is the conviction of our faith that will move hearts.  It less clever arguments than the love we radiate that will spark a desire to know more about God.  If you need more persuasion let me end with a comparatively current example from the great twentieth century British evangelizer Frank Sheed: He related a story about his fear to go Hyde Park in London and evangelize.  It wasn’t that he was afraid of public speaking, but that he was afraid he would damage the Catholic Church by saying something wrong.  The priest he was talking to replied (and I paraphrase) ‘There have been many men in the past two millennia smarter and more powerful than you that tried to damage the Church and her message and they failed.  You will do fine if you keep God in your heart.

As Amos, St. Paul, the apostles and Frank Sheed did so should we; speak the gospel message clearly, humbly, with love, and God will do the rest.

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[1] AM 7:12-15; EPH 1:3-14; MK 6: 7-13
[2] JER 1: 7-9 (RSV)

Familiarity

Today’s Gospel[1] brings to mind many insights.  But, today, I can’t help but think about a more human aspect; one that directly affects our ability to appreciate our Lord; one that affects our being able to interiorize His message; and because of it can damage society.

In the Gospel today we see Christ enter His own country – the place where He was raised. He had already begun to proclaim the gospel and back His words up with miracles; and now He comes home to do the same.  But the people were of another frame of mind: ‘many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.[2]

They knew Him; many knew Him well. They grew up with Jesus the boy so they couldn’t see or accept the greatness because of the familiarity.  They couldn’t recognize wisdom coming from just another one of them.  They couldn’t elevate past the immanent to the transcendent – the ordinary to the sublime.  They were numb to the importance of Jesus – many were extremely annoyed.

So, as I reflected on this scene I had to ask myself and now all of us – have we done the same? Have we, faithful followers who live a life of prayer and adoration of God, missed the greatness and newness of His message.  Though in an abstract sense, it is easy to gauge the receptivity of God’s message by whether we live the radical life of Christ and His apostles or not. It is hard to apply that metric to ourselves – we are great deniers and sophists.

At least for me, I can see that I have missed the mark in recognizing the importance of this one person I supposedly know so well.  As I take a deep look I fear that my life is not one of surrender to God; I have failed to truly live the radical life that Christ calls His followers to. I sit back and review my inaction in the public discourse when I should have gone forth as the apostles did and proclaim the good news.  I sit back and notice the times I came up with easy justifications for not standing in the public square and discuss a better way, a better idea.  I can see those times that I didn’t practice in public what I believe in my heart.  I can see the damage done by wallowing in the comfort of inaction by looking at the bad decisions made by public figures that might not have been made by them if only I (and every other catholic) had exercised my calling as a Catholic apostle; and my obligation and right as a U.S. citizen to engage in the great public discourse.

This current round of decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court has shown what happens when we don’t continually live a life centered in Christ and participate in the public dialog.  The ramifications of the decision concerning marriage haven’t even started to appear – but dark clouds are starting to form. The dark clouds on the horizon are not figments of unrealistic minds, no matter what Justice Kennedy wrote in the majority decision to assure us otherwise.  As was the decision absurd, so was his statement within it assuring us of religious protection[3].  This reflection is not the place to dissect the future. But we now have seen painfully, once again, what happens when we don’t live a life totally centered on Christ; when we view our faith as so familiar that we don’t understand Christ’s message and our responsibilities.

At the end of today’s Gospel we see just what we have just reflected on. Jesus was so affected that: ‘he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them.[4] – Christ’s effectiveness was limited by the receptivity of those He ministered to and with. Brothers and sisters let’s not make the same mistake over and over again of allowing our closeness with Christ to cloud our view of the message He gives us. Let’s not withdraw to a familiar and comfortable hole of interiorized faith. The world will be a sicker place if do.

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[1] Mk 6:1-6
[2] Mk 6:2b-3 (RSV)
[3] Obergefell v. Hodges majority opinion. ‘The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to “advocate” and “teach” their views of marriage.’ Needless to say, this statement is glaring in its complete omission of what the First Amendment guarantees: the freedom to exercise religion.
[4] Mk 6:5 (RSV)

Thoughts of Hope

The path of society today has shown itself as moving farther and farther from the Judeo-Christian values that built it – both here and in Europe.  This week’s tragic decision on Marriage is just the latest in clarion examples that prove this.  It is now painfully obvious that Christianity needs to come to terms with a new paradigm which an op-ed in Time Magazine proclaims ‘Orthodox Christians Must Now Learn To Live as Exiles in Our Own Country’[1]

But should this worry us? Yes and No.

Yes

Our efforts to proffer the Gospel message as the best path for mankind to take is seriously ignored and ridiculed. We have been relegated to the sidelines as an annoyance – to some a threat.  Through our own inactions as apostolic descendants we have placed our message in limbo.  We don’t act as we speak and, truth be told, we rarely speak our faith anyways.  And through our actions we have shown that we don’t really live our faith.  The misguided belief that if our society doesn’t agree with the Gospel then we should just allow society’s ideas to be our own (as seen in numerous attempts to bend ideas to fit our faith) just howls of hypocrisy – and people see and understand it as such. We have led ourselves into some uncertain waters that could lead to persecution.

No

Our journey since the Lord ascended home has shown great periods of persecution, laxity, desertion and confusion.  During these times our Holy Mother Church has been purified, re-tooled and continued in a stronger fashion.  The Roman persecution saw savagery against our Church only to see great growth afterwards. The 13th century saw Holy Mother Church wallowing in self-indulgence and from this we saw the great mendicant orders started by St. Dominic and St. Francis re-energize the Christian world. And on and on. So we can hold on to hope that though we might struggle through our time on earth – God’s plan continues no matter what mankind throws in His way.

Our Heavenly Father doesn’t wish for our waywardness and failure – He doesn’t wish to ‘clean house’ and start afresh – He desires our success.  But He knows our struggles and He understands the pressures exerted on us by Satan and, yes, ourselves.  We hear in the Gospel of St. John Christ tell us that He has a plan for this: ‘Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.[2]  As scary as this sounds it is a much more loving correction that what He visited on Sodom and Gomorrah, what He tried during Noah’s time.

Years ago, then Cardinal Ratzinger made a shocking statement, at least at the time, and though rather lengthy it needs to be reflected on in total:

‘From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge—a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, so will she lose many of her social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, she will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision.

As a small society, she will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members. Undoubtedly she will discover new forms of ministry and will ordain to the priesthood approved Christians who pursue some profession. In many smaller congregations or in self-contained social groups, pastoral care will normally be provided in this fashion. Alongside this, the full-time ministry of the priesthood will be indispensable as formerly. 

But in all of the changes at which one might guess, the Church will find her essence afresh and with full conviction in that which was always at her center: faith in the triune God, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, in the presence of the Spirit until the end of the world. In faith and prayer she will again recognize her true center and experience the sacraments again as the worship of God and not as a subject for liturgical scholarship. 

The Church will be a more spiritual Church, not presuming upon a political mandate, flirting as little with the Left as with the Right. It will be hard going for the Church, for the process of crystalization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek. 

The process will be all the more arduous, for sectarian narrow-mindedness as well as pompous self-will will have to be shed. One may predict that all of this will take time. The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism of the eve of the French Revolution—when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain—to the renewal of the nineteenth century. 

But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. 

Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret. 

And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already with Gobel, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.’[3]

Brothers and sisters, we have seen terrible decisions made in our lifetimes, this week’s decision by the Supreme Court is just another in abominations done in the name of love.  We can see the continued and increasing threats to our faith, our ability to live our faith and probably even our freedom.  We have every reason to be sadden and worry – but never despair; and never resignation.  We have the right of it because we have been given truth from our creator.  If our church is entering a retooling then we continue the good fight and accept God’s will.  If we remain true to Christ He will remain true to us and Holy Mother Church will come out on the other side of this period stronger and more vibrant.  So I proudly say what is hanging on our front door: ‘as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.[4]

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[1] http://time.com/3938050/orthodox-christians-must-now-learn-to-live-as-exiles-in-our-own-country/
[2] John 15: 2-3 (RSV)
[3] Glaube un Zukunft (1970) Faith and the Future (1971/2006)
[4] Joshua 24:15b (RSV)

Prayer and Choice

Today, Jesus enters into Jerusalem a Hero, at least to those who are following Him. Of course not everyone is happy to see Him: the Sanhedrin is not happy; the Romans are nervous; of the citizens of Jerusalem, many of them are not pleased.  But His followers, those who profess Him as their Messiah are exuberant.  These followers choose to be with Him. They see in Him a winner, one who gives them the hopes they are desiring. But, in a few short days that exuberation will dissolve; they will flee from being followers; they will walk away from their choice and melt back into the people of Judah.

Brothers and sisters, we too have professed Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior; we have chosen to be followers and we are exuberant.  We have, with special intensity, walked with Christ during this Lenten season and hopefully we have reached Holy Week stronger disciples.  Unlike almost 2,000 years ago where His followers fled on Holy Thursday I am confident that our intensity in our devotion to Christ will grow throughout the Triduum.  Our test will come after Easter. Will the fruits of our Lenten exercise remain with us once Easter is celebrated? Will our desire for a renewed closeness with Christ continue? Will we continue to choose Christ as our example and model for living our lives?

These are very important questions to ask ourselves. They are not questions brought about by fear of failure in as much as they are questions of love. God, who is Love, has given us freewill to choose Him or not; and Satan knows this all too well.  As members of God’s family, out of our love for them, we need to concern ourselves with our ability to live up to our familial responsibilities and to defend ourselves from the attacks of our powerful enemy. We should ask ourselves every day, if not more frequently, about our choice.  To not do so is putting ourselves in danger of drifting away from Jesus Christ; in effect turning our backs from our loving family.

This is made all the more imperative because the demands that society seemingly forces upon us makes living within our family very difficult. At times we can spend the extra effort and time to push society and Satan away, and Lent is a very good season to do this, but to do so continually is a very hard undertaking. How can we hope to live in the family of God when these pressures from Satan and society implant within us doubts about our capabilities?

A few years ago I spent five days at a Cistercian Monastery near Dubuque Iowa. At one point I was talking with the retreat house master about their life in the order.  During the conversation he said that He and His brothers choose with their feet every day; they could just up and leave whenever they felt like it. But he said – the intimacy of prayer was a great strength, beyond imagination.

As we transition from our Lenten journey and enter the great events of the Sacred Triduum and onward I urge us all to dive deeply into our prayer life and allow God to open our hearts to His wisdom and most importantly His Love. Let’s follow the words of that wise Cistercian brother and take advantage of prayer – this great strength that is beyond imagination.  It is the surest way to keep our choice of Christ ever first in our hearts like we are in His.

 

Vigilance

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A[1] 

So, this past week we were given the 8th accommodation to the HHS mandate.  This new accommodation is nothing more than a shell game that continues to force people to violate their religious beliefs.

From the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council:
“Effective immediately, this latest rule still orders charities, like the Little Sisters of the Poor, non-profit Christian colleges, like Wheaton College, and religious broadcasters, like EWTN to violate their consciences simply because they legally contract for health coverage. The government uses their contract as the basis to force their insurers to provide their employees with free contraception and drugs that can kill human embryos, against their sincere conscientious beliefs.”[2]

The 8th accommodation is also still playing games with how an institution is designated and needs to “file” for an exemption which brought this response from Daniel Blomberg, a lawyer for the Becket Fund, which represents Little Sisters of the Poor:

“It is disappointing that the government continues to treat religious ministries as not religious enough to deserve the same exemption it gives houses of worship.”[3]

This administration continues to push an agenda that is in opposition to many in this country, as well as in my opinion the constitution, with seemingly no concern.  Do they know that they are perpetuating evil by doing this?  Do they sit in Washington DC and various elitist think-tanks trying to do harm to mankind by cooperating with Satan?

No, I don’t believe so.

However, I do believe that they are adherents to an ideology that claims that governments and politics are the best and only means to address all inequities and evils in the world – in other words to bring about temporal redemption[4] of mankind.  This ideology is just one more flavor of the fruit that gave rise to theologies such as Radical Liberation Theology and the socio/political philosophies of Socialism and Communism.  None of those came about to bring evil to the world, just the opposite; but all of them frayed and dissolved because of an evil that is foundational to these theologies and political philosophies.  That evil, was pushing God from any and all dialogs and discernment processes.

In 1996 then Cardinal Ratzinger, speaking to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and presidents of the Doctrinal Commissions for CELAM (the Latin American Episcopal Conference) highlighted what happens when politics tries to be the sole vehicle of redemption. ‘The fact is that when politics want to bring redemption, they promise too much.  When they presume to do God’s work, they do not become divine but diabolical.[5]

We hear as much from Jesus in today’s gospel[6] when Christ tells Peter; ‘Get behind me Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.[7]  Mankind, when pushing God out of societal processes to rely only on themselves loses the divine initiative and protection from evil.

For the past 122 years (with the promulgation of Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum) Holy Mother Church has increasingly lifted her voice to the social, cultural and political ills of humanity.  She has stepped forward to offer alternatives; never trying to force her ideas on mankind but always bringing truth to the dialog.  Her concern for the redemption of mankind, both temporal and eternal, is integral to her mission.  She is concerned for each of God’s people and His whole creation.  Recently, she has seen these socio/political ideologies take hold throughout the world and has spoken strongly against them, of what happens when mankind removes God from this dialog, and how governing ends up in the hands of the powerful and the others look from outside hoping for the best.  Politics becomes relativistic, positivistic[8] and utilitarian.  We only need look at the history of the 20th century for proof.

Holy Mother Church’s alternatives are never just academic exercises, they are brought about by real issues and can be applied – which means her alternatives always involve the lay faithful.

Brothers and sisters, I have talked before that our calling as modern apostles to go out ‘teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you[9] demands our participation in society, it demands our witness to the necessity of God in the national dialog and His Truth in politics and governance.  As Christ’s faithful we are compelled to show to others that with God our struggles will be addressed divinely; without Him our actions end diabolically – regardless of our intentions.

But in addition and maybe most importantly the HHS mandate saga shows us that our part in the socio/political dialog is also one of constant vigilance.  We cannot be complacent with apparent victories, such as the Hobby Lobby Supreme court decision, because they fade into history quickly and mankind moves forward. Christ’s rebuke of Peter in today’s Gospel reading comes immediately after Peter’s inspired declaration ‘You are the Messiah, the son of the living God.[10] It highlights that mankind, even the most faithful among us, needs to be reminded of God’s plan. My friends it is up to each of us to take up our crosses and herald His truth – to bring God back into the socio/political discourse time and time again – and never tire of this mission because if not us – who?

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[1] Readings for the day:  Jer 20:7-9, Rom 12:1-2, Mt 16:21-27
[2] Arina Grossu, Director for the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council
[3] http://www.slate.com/articles
[4] Defined: deliverance; rescue.
[5] 1990 Guadalajara Mexico, Cardinal Ratzinger address to CDF and CELAM Doctrinal Commissions presidents.
[6] Mt 16:21-27
[7] Mt 16:23
[8] Defined as the theory that laws are to be understood as social rules, valid because they are enacted by authority or derive logically from existing decisions, and that ideal or moral considerations (e.g., that a rule is unjust) should not limit the scope or operation of the law.
[9] Mt 28:20
[10] Mt 16:16

Our Parable

Three years ago, in his Angelus reflection at Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict commented that Parable of the Sower was in a certain way an autobiographical passage: ‘for it reflects the very experience of Jesus, of his preaching[1]  In this parable we see Jesus spreading the good seed to everyone and the results are determined by the hearts and minds that accept the seed, the word of God. This parable has some very relevant points for us, especially as we enter into the New Evangelization.

Seed is for everyone
Jesus’ method of spreading the good news, sowing the seed, is not targeted in an exclusionary way, (though God started with a select people He eventually expanded to include all mankind) – He proclaims to everyone.  His mission is to bring the Gospel to all of creation; how they respond is up to them but they deserve to hear it.  God loves everyone, no exceptions.

Love continues
Because of God’s love for us this message is never forced so it runs the risk of being rejected. However, even though many people will close their hearts to the message, or struggle and fall away, God’s love doesn’t end.  Love is who God is, this can’t change or as Timothy writes ‘he cannot deny himself[2] though speaking of His faithfulness it holds for His love as well.  Christ will not stop loving and therefore will not stop proclaiming to those He loves – again and again and again.

This our autobiography
What Christ experienced during His earthly ministry we should expect as well.  Our apostolate is to continue Christ’s mission.  We should learn from our master and do the same; sow the seed everywhere, proclaim the Gospel to everyone; and we should expect the same results, varied, depending on the hearts and minds of those who hear us.  We should expect nothing less as Christ tells us so many times ‘No disciple is above his teacher…[3] he tells us in Matthew; and again, in John: ‘‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.[4], and so our results will be the same as His.

The Parable Continues
The Parable of the Sower is our story as well and our story continues.  Our lives which we have given to Christ will experience what He did and we should rejoice in that fact.  We will go out into the world and introduce them to our loving brother and Lord.  We will witness to the joy and peace that a life with our best friend brings.  We will be a living example of Christ’s Gospel, and in doing so our lives will radiate what is missing in society today. We will sow God’s Word.  What happens then is not in our control, because it is not in God’s control; though He and we will continue to love (and we will continue to pray for) the recipients.  This should give us great comfort, we are not expected to change people’s hearts we don’t fail if we don’t quit sowing.

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[1] L’Osservatore Romano (English Edition 7/13/2011)
[2] 2 Timothy 2:13
[3] Matthew 10:24
[4] John 15:20