A HOMILY FOR THE FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “A” – 7/12/2020 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
Of all the professions, of all the ways that we can make a living, of all the jobs that we can do, there is perhaps none that is a greater reminder of our dependence on God, than being a farmer. Despite all our modern knowledge and technology, even in 2020, the farmer knows that his or her work, is an act of Faith. They can prepare the ground. They can plant the best seeds. They can tend the growing plants. And they can want to reap a bountiful harvest. But if it doesn’t rain, and there’s drought. Or there’s too much rain, and their fields are flooded. Or the weather keeps them from getting their crops planted, or delays their harvesting, there’s just many times that there’s absolutely nothing that they can do about. It makes farming a very risky business, not to mention, a lot of hard work. Maybe that’s why in the Bible, there are so many scripture references to farming, including both our first reading today from Isaiah, and in our Gospel today from St. Matthew, where we hear Jesus Himself talk about planting seeds. And He compares the sowing of the Kingdom of God, to the farmer’s planting of his crops.
Now, even though we live in Indiana, which is considered an agricultural state, most of us are not farmers. We don’t know the difference between different brands of herbicides. Most of us have never driven a tractor or a combine. Today, most of us, have never detasseled corn. They have machines that do that now. Forty, Fifty, Sixty years ago, every Hoosier high school student knew how to detassel corn. But because we are surrounded by so many farms and fields, even those of us who aren’t farmers, can tell when crops are drying up because of a lack of rain, or when a field is ruined by flooding. We know more about farming and growing things than most. And maybe that helps us to understand today’s readings, more than most people.
Somebody else, who wasn’t really a farmer, but who knew a lot about helping on a farm, is our Patroness, St. Maria Goretti. St. Maria Goretti would have helped out her parents many times in the fields, as that is how her family made a living and survived. The Goretti’s also lived in a very rich, agricultural region of Italy. In fact, today, and we were just talking about this last Monday, on St. Maria Goretti’s feast day, the Goretti’s home is surrounded by Kiwi farms. So the next time you’re eating a Kiwi, especially in the winter, think of St. Maria Goretti! And so, St. Maria Goretti would have understood better than most, what Jesus is talking about, in our Gospel today.
And what is it that we need to understand? What is it that Jesus wants us to be planting or growing in our lives? What is the seed to Kingdom of God? Well, it’s our lives! We plant the seeds to the Kingdom of God, that Kingdom that Jesus spent so much time talking about, when we live holy lives. You know, we don’t talk enough about holiness, or being holy today. We might talk about being good, or doing the right thing, but we don’t talk about being holy. Our world today is starving for holiness and holy people! It’s almost like, we don’t think that we can be holy, so we’ve written off our call to holiness, without ever realizing that that is how we become the seeds of the Kingdom of God. Our choosing holiness in our daily lives, has an amazing effect on whether the Kingdom of God lives or dies in our world today. We can be holy. We can be God’s representatives in the world. It happens all the time. We just need to make sure that it is happening more and more often. And that we’re not afraid to be God’s holy people. People who pray, and spend time with God, and who acknowledge His goodness to us. People who live good and moral lives. People who use better language and don’t take the name of the Lord in vain. People who really care about their brothers and sisters. People who know their Faith and aren’t afraid to share it with other. Every time we do these things, we plant the seeds of the Kingdom in others. Holiness is amazing. It is what we called to, the way that we called to live. You want to do the most radical thing that you can possibly do today with your life? Live a life of holiness! Be holy! Let God work in your life.
And that, my dear brothers and sisters, is what our Patroness, St. Maria Goretti did. It was the way she lived her short life. Long before Alessandro Serrinelli attacker her, long before she had to forgive someone who didn’t deserve or ask for, her forgiveness. Long before St. Maria Goretti was canonized by the Catholic Church. This young girl was committed to living a holy life. And is changed everything not only for her, but for all of those around her.
Farmers understand, better than most, that everything comes from God, belongs to God, and should be used to Him honor, glory, and praise. That is why in so many cultures and civilizations that farmers offer up their fruits of the harvest to God as a sacrifice to show their gratitude! When holiness takes root in our lives, and our Faith grows, we like, like St. Maria Goretti, offer ourselves back to God, Who first gave all to us. Holiness is our expression of our love for Him and is living out in our love for one another. Just as Jesus taught us!
+ May God bless us today as we strive to live holy lives, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!