June 14, 2015

A HOMILY FOR THE ELEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE”B”- 6/14/15 – SMG

+  Pax et Bonum!  Peace and goodness to you this day!

My Grandfather was a huge gardener.  He loved growing things.  He would absolutely love the back to home- grown, and locally-grown movement that is happening today.  He showed that love of gardening by converting pretty much the entire back 1/3 of his substantial yard to a massive garden.  Some people spend their retirement on the golf course, and some people spend their retirement in Florida, and other spend their retirement collecting antiques.  My grandfather spent the last years of his life in his garden, right where he wanted to be.  I’m not sure which he loved more, gardening or eating fresh, delicious food.  Judging from his love of good tomato sauce, it may have been the later.  One day, when all my cousins were at our grandparent’s house, one of my younger cousins asked her Mom and Dad why they didn’t have corn, and tomatoes, and cabbage, and peppers, growing in their backyard.  She thought that the entire garden, just “happened”.   From her perspective, every backyard should have all those things growing in it!  And of course, her parents and all of us explained to her that Grandpa planted all those things.  They didn’t just happen.  They didn’t just pop out of the ground on their own.  They didn’t just spring up in the middle of the grass in the yard.  In fact, we told her, it took a lot of work to make that garden happen.  Tilling, and fertilizing, and planting, and watering, and weeding, it all added up to a lot of work!  I think that it made all of us appreciate our Grandfather just a little bit more!

Today, as we finally get back into Ordinary Time on Sunday, and on this Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary we hear about how God loves to grow things, and how God can take the tiniest, little seed, like a mustard seed, and make it grow into something really beautiful and useful for God, or for His people.  The Gospel reminds us of just how miraculous it is to grow things.  You put the seed into the ground.  You water it and fertilize it, and take care of it.  And day by day, many days without you even realizing it, the seed becomes a plant.  It just comes up through the soil.  Even the Gospel says, we know not how.  I suppose it can even look like my Grandfather’s garden did to my cousin, like it just happens.  But God knows, and we know, that it doesn’t just happen.  We must do our part.

Of course, this Gospel is NOT just talking about our gardens or our produce.  This Gospel is really talking about Faith.  And like a good garden, Faith must be cultivated to grow.  Faith, no more than a beautiful garden, doesn’t just happen.  It is not automatic.  Growing Faith takes real work, hard work.  And that work is a never ending process.  We need to be growing Faith every day of our lives.  We don’t take vacations from growing Faith, it is a part of our every day lives.   We don’t take the summer off from our Faith.  Summer is an extremely important time for growing everything, and that includes our Faith.  We don’t take breaks from our Faith.  Taking a break from Faith is like putting up a neon sign for the Devil, Take my soul!  Take my soul!  Instead, we need to persevere at growing Faith every single day!

What are we doing this summer to “grow” our Faith?  Are we reading any good religious books?  When’s the last time that we picked up our Bible?  When’s the last time that we went to daily Mass?  Could we take an extra hour of Adoration just for the summer?  When’s the last time that we went to Confession?

There are SO many things that we can do this summer to increase and grow Faith in our lives!  The only question is, are we going to do them?  My brothers and sisters, Faith does NOT automatically happen.  Faith doesn’t just appear in our lives, any more than a flourishing vegetable garden appears in your backyard!  It takes some effort.  It takes some work.  You gotta put something into it, to get all kinds of blessing out of it.  A lot of Catholics miss that message.

In our Gospel today our God promises to do His part.  He will help us to grow Faith.  He has done everything that He can to make that opportunity available to all of us.  It’s like He’s given us the soil, the seeds, the water, the sun, and the fertilizer.  He’s given us everything that we need.  Now all we have to do is get busy and get to work, taking all that He has given us, and making Faith a reality in our lives!  May God’s love always grow in our hearts!

+   May God bless us today,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                                   AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…        Pray for us !!!