11th Sunday of Ordinary Time B
I have been walking a lot lately, mostly on Route 7 and Union Street and I have noticed that I walk with my head down and I am not sure why. It could be that I am looking for potholes on our sidewalks. It might be that I am reacting to the Mets season and I am doing a sad Charlie Brown walk. But what I really think is that I am having a hard time just carrying this big noggin. You know how some people carry weights when they walk? My equivalent is just keeping my head up. The result however is that I have bumped into three runners and a sign post. I am learning the need to walk by sight and not by faith.
And so it seems to be with the walk of life. We like to see where we are going. We are looking for places where we might stumble, potential pitfalls in our lives. We carefully stake out our path, measuring where we can safely tread and avoiding the rest. Let us trust not too quickly or care with such abandon. We are growing our garden with extreme caution. I am not claiming to be an expert in gardening. Those lovely flowers in front of my house are not my doing but our garden ministry. Recently, in a lovely gesture, a mother gave me a plant to commemorate her child’s baptism, saying I could watch it grow as her daughter grows. Every day I pray her daughter is doing better than my plant.
But I get the basics. Every flower or plant needs water and sunlight. We can prepare the soil and feed our plants to get the result we want. And Jesus often points to that. But today’s Gospel emphasizes something different. He notes that for all the work the farmer does, the greatest miracle occurs during sleep for it is growth that matters. Plants grow because that is what they are meant to do. For all our planning and cultivating, think about wildflowers. The wind blows them, the seed spreads, they plant themselves and nothing could be more beautiful.
So it is with the kingdom, so it is through our life. Within us is planted a seed meant for growth. It is meant for holiness, peace, grace and love. We have been designed to flourish. And that is why we are called to walk by faith more than sight. We must know the powerful mercy of God and entrust ourselves to it. We should not be cowed by the fearful scenarios we envision, but instead be open to the experiences of grace and growth God has prepared for us. We can dare to risk for love for that is God’s intention. We can place ourselves in the hands of each other for we were meant to be together. We can sacrifice in the name of justice for that is what the Lord has called us to.
To see If you indeed walk by faith and not by sight, let me suggest a short test for you. Which word best describes your life. Careful or joyful? Worry or peace? Judgment or mercy? Fear of love?
There is a fitting time for all these words in our life. Prudence is a virtue after all. It is a matter of biography. Which words are predominant in your life? Are we faith walkers or only sight walkers? Dare we trust in our beauty or our personal calculus? Let us walk with our heads held high, not looking for cracks in the sidewalk and missing out on the beauty, joy and mystery of the journey.