11th Sunday in Ordinary Time B

The most boring parable in all the Gospels has a lot to teach us.  Let’s face it.  Not a lot happens in the parable of the seed.  The kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seeds.  Then he pretty much goes to bed and wakes up, goes to bed and wakes up.  And then the seed sprouts and grows.  “He knows not how.”  It grows because “of its own accord the land yields fruit.”   It grows because that is what occurs when soil and seed and time come together.

I wish I were like that carefree sower of seeds.  Oh I do sow as many seeds as possible.   But rather than letting it grow of its own accord, I wake up, stand over where the seed was planted and complain that nothing has happened yet.  I curse my luck, I try something new or I just give up on altogether if the yield does not come when I expected it; when I demanded it.

Perhaps my reaction is not that unusual in a culture obsessed with results and needing it now.  In a world so desperate for peace and understanding, it is hard to wait on the promised kingdom.  In our lives so complicated and confusing, it is hard to wait for the Lord to make the difference when we want to make the difference now.

Yet, we should not be surprised that this is how God operates.  This is a God who patiently builds and who not only gives us good things, but prepares us for it as well.  This is the God who used the slow and gentle method of evolution to create the world.  It could have come to us as is with vibrant cities, leafy suburbs and lush rural areas ready for us to use.  Instead, God let the world grow together so that all might find it place.  Jesus is letting us know that God is doing the same with the kingdom of God and for each of us. There is something beautiful growing if only we trusted it.  We are supposed to be planting mustard seeds of great potential without anxiety.  Instead, all we ever grow are impatiens.  (That is a horrible horticultural pun.)

Of all the many things I have learned from Pope Francis, one thing that has captivated me and that I am trying to allow to change my daily life is a principal he gives us in his apostolic exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel.”  Time is greater than space.  For Francis, space is just a moment, a snapshot of life. We take measure in that moment of what we have and all too often of what do not.  The limit of living only in that and only for that moment is a cause of desperation in our lives. Yet, flowing over that space is the gift of time that beckons us to like to look to the horizon of a brighter future, to allow things to be in process, to grow ever steadily toward the fulfillment.  Space is a limit.  Time is always opening our world/  If we could entrust ourselves to time and not to space, how much more hopeful and peaceful we would be?

If the key to human growth is to simply get out of our own way, imagine the joy we will know in our lives if we decide to get out of God’s way and let what God wants for us to mature and take hold of our lives.  How much for peaceful would we be if rather than forcing the action to get what we think we need or deserve, we patiently waited to see what God has prepared for us?  What if we surrendered winning the moment, but instead lived like those destined for eternity with a trust and peace in the beauty of all things, of all people?

Ah, but that begs the question.  Can I trust God enough?  Can I wait for God’s time and not my own?  Will I decide to be more accepting and less expecting?  Is the providence of God more central to my life than my estimate of what I deserve?  Will I trust process over possession?  Will I devour what is front of me or do I dare to wait for the great feast God is making ready?  Of course St. Paul sums it up best in the second reading – “we walk by faith, not by sight. “

If we had the courage of faith to walk by faith; if we could let the world come to us as gift and not be a place to conquer, then we would truly be channels of God’s peace.  It is peace that God is wanting to give you – the peace he lived and died to ensure you had.  Blessed are those who gently and patiently say yes to the peace of Jesus Christ.