Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

07-16-2017HomiliesFather Barnabas Duniya

Humility is the foundation of the spiritual life. Because of this foundation, the Lord God can dwell more fully within us. In today’s parable, “A sower went out to sow.” Now either this sower is foolish, or he knows something that we don’t know. If you were driving down a paved road, and came up behind a farmer driving his tractor, dropping seed for miles on the path, will you have concern for him? Doesn’t he know he’s wasting his time, energy and money? Why is the Gospel so slow in entering our hearts?

The sower in Jesus’ parable acts in a similar way: “…as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up.” Jesus explains the parable of the sower: “The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart.” This parable is an invitation to a radical choice in which words are not enough, deeds are required.

Jesus paints four points in today’s gospel parable. The first three illustrations are pictures of the sower labouring in vain, because of the path, rocky ground and thorns. Only the fourth illustration describes seed falling on rich soil, producing fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. One thing we must avoid in our spiritual journey and for the bearing of spiritual fruit is “Ignorance”: that does, not understand what the Word of God tells us.

To grow in humility requires knowledge of God, and self-knowledge. Knowledge of God is simple, because God is simple. God is Love. But self-knowledge is more complicated. Self-knowledge has two parts: knowledge of us as a fallen people, who has stumbled and fallen into sin; and knowledge of us as Christians who are loved by God, who has picked us up, washed us in the Blood of the Lamb, and raised us up to the dignity of His own children.

Humility will grow inside of us as we rest more in the knowledge of who we are, who God is, and who God wants us always to be. Here is a concrete example of how to let this soil of humility become richer. To anyone who has, more will be given; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. They look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand (vv.12-13).

Each night before going to sleep, we make sure to spend at least three minutes in prayer. Divide this time in prayer into three equal parts. During the first third, make an examination of conscience concerning the day that has just ended. During the middle third, express sorrow to God for failing to act as His beloved child. During the last third, give thanks to God for the love, mercy, pardon and peace that are always, and every day, offered to you by Christ Jesus.

Isaiah the prophet strengthens the idea of the sower and compares the word of God to the rain that brings life while St. Paul tells us that sowing is always difficult, it is a time of pains, though not pains of death, but merely pains of the beginning of new life. In God’s plan, creation’s destiny and humanity are intimately linked; creation, too, awaits transfiguration at the end of the world (Rom.8:19-22). The Beatitudes, which include the promise of everlasting happiness, clearly spell out the need for self-denial and a willingness to accept suffering on account of following Christ (Mt.5:3-12).

Yours in Christ,

Father Barnabas Duniya