Sunday, July 10, 2005
Singles Mass, Cardinal Gibbons High School, Raleigh, NC
Welcome everyone, especially if you are here for the first
We are a unique community. Most of us have lived
enough life to have borne some of its burdens and challenges.
We can easily identify with the seed that was eaten by the
birds, choked by the thorns and burned by the sun. That little seed is a
symbol of us when we feel eaten up by work, problems and busyness, choked by
misunderstanding and burned by overexposure to the demands of people who need
us. We love to hear that in spite of all the obstacles, some of the seed
bore such a wonderful outcome, way beyond what any farmer would expect.
I used to think of the story as though the farmer had four
different plots of land. In the three plots where the various threats and
obstacles killed the seed, those were people who really had hard lives and they
just couldn’t be success in life. The fourth plot of soil described those
people who were just plain successful and didn’t have to bear some of the
problems that you and I have had.
Then, I realized that it was only one plot of land.
The farmer sowed liberally and almost carelessly all over the plot of land.
In spite of the fact that some of the seed for various reasons didn’t come to
fruition, there was definitely some that bore fruit way beyond what was even
I think of the piece of land as your life and my life.
We know what obstacles are. When we have been in a
relationship and it didn’t mature we have had to face disappointment and
frustration and perhaps admit that we were in part responsible for its demise
because some of the obstacles were the weeds and parts of our lives that work
against us. We all have faults and failings and quirks developed around
personal issues that go back to our youth. We also have been in
relationship with other wounded people who because of their insecurity and hang
ups have sort of ‘picked away’ at us like the birds, instead of affirming us as
we expected and deserved. Then we have all experienced the normal threats
to a peaceful existence, unemployment, financial pressures and family worries.
They all contribute to the obstacles that threaten relationships and families.
The Good News is that God will accomplish his purpose in
our lives if we even give him the least bit of chance. But, there is
definitely a response required from us.
God gives us grace. God sows his grace in the soil of
our hearts like the farmer who sows the seed, but we must be good to the soil
that receives this seed, and water it with prayer, silence, listening and
sharing it with our neighbor.
Over the years I’ve seen countless people get excited about
the Word. Sometimes a homily really speaks to them, or a retreat or special
evening of sharing the Word in a small group stirs them and gives them hope.
Some continue to share the Word with others in small groups. They also
take time for daily personal prayer. These are the people who really
nurture the Word like a seed sewn in the soil.
The Singles Mass is a special time for us. We love
the Mass and expect the homily to nourish us and speak to our unique lives.
We know, too, that during the week we have to continue to keep the fire going by
prayer, keeping in touch with one another and relying upon God when the threats
and obstacles come.
My own experience is that spite of all the obstacles
that I have faced in my life, God continues to overcome them and helps me
see that He is bringing about a great harvest. The harvest is not apart
from the obstacles. The obstacles in a mysterious way contribute to the
harvest. If it weren’t for the obstacles the wonderful miracles God
accomplishes in our lives would never happen. All God asks of us is to
trust, to hope, never to give up hope. Then He has surprised me beyond all
my expectations, as the parable says, ’30, 60, a hundredfold.’ You, too
must keep hoping and never stop trusting God, because God is the most
trustworthy person we will ever meet.