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07/23/17 Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 106

  • From today’s Gospel: "The kingdom of heaven may be likened
    to a man who sowed good seed in his field.  While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.  When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well
    .” 
  • Each of our lives are filled with weeds...
  • Our weeds may come in many forms… From our weaknesses and addictions, from our disappointments, from our losses…from people who are hurting and who end up transmitting their pain to us...  We all have our lists…
  • Weeds are part of the human condition...
  • And the paradox of life comes from realizing that it's often the weeds in our lives that teach us the most valuable lessons...
  • This doesn't mean that we're to cultivate them or welcome them...
  • It means that we must learn to coexist with them… To learn to grow with them like the wheat in today’s parable…
  • That we must learn to trust that God will help us deal with them when the time is right... 
  • One of the most important lessons we must all learn in life, is that although striving for perfection is a worthy goal... Expecting perfection from ourselves or others is a cruel lie... 
  • Learning to live with the weeds in our lives without allowing ourselves to be discouraged by them, helps us to learn to live with imperfection...
  • It helps us to learn to accept ourselves just as we are... As God accepts us...
  • And perhaps most importantly, it slowly teaches us to extend this acceptance to others as well...
  • None of this means that we never try to better ourselves… Because that would be an abuse of God’s mercy
  • What it means is that we need to learn to accept with the messiness of daily life…
  • That we must learn to reject the picture-perfect world that our society paints for us in oh so many ways…
  • The weeds in our lives are allowed in order to teach us… to form us… to sanctify us… and ultimately to transform us
  • But the key is – We must be open and willing to learn from them
  • We must be open and willing to allow them to change us
  • Our faith is first and foremost about transformation… If we’re not allowing God to mold us, and to change us… Then we’re fighting God… And God always wins
  • In this lesson lies the difference between becoming better or becoming bitter as we age… …
  • If we work to remain open to God’s Grace working in our lives… God will allow the wheat in our lives to grow and flourish despite the weeds
  • Everything that has been allowed to happen to us up to this point in our lives has been allowed to happen for a reason… To form us into who we are right now…
  • Father Richard Rohr wrote: “We agree to bear the burden and the grace of our past.  We agree to honor what is, including even the broken things of life… (Because) Their dark side is a necessary teacher…”    (Adapted from Richard Rohr and John Feister, Hope Against Darkness: The Transforming vision of St. Francis in the Age of Anxiety.  Franciscan Media: 2002, 181-182.)
  • But there’s more in today’s Gospel…
  • Jesus goes on to speak of the smallest of seeds becoming the largest of plants, and a tiny amount of yeast leavening the entire batch of bread…
  • The tiny mustard seed and spec of yeast that produce great outcomes, can be equated to faith
  • Faith is the greatest of gifts from GodBecause Faith is the father of Hope
  • And if Christianity is about anything – It’s about Hope
  • Faith allows us to hope against hope that God can bring good from tragedy…
  • Faith assures us on our bad days that tomorrow will be better…
  • Faith promises us that we can begin again over and over in life as long as we have breath within us…
  • Faith promises these things because we are children of a loving and compassionate God… A God of new beginnings… A God of life

 

  • God wastes nothingEverything is redemptive…
  • Even the weeds of our lives can be used by God, to ultimately help us to bear good fruit
  • I’ll close with a quote from St. Teresa of Avila, found in her prayer book, shortly after her death:

Let nothing disturb you,

Let nothing frighten you,

All things are passing:

God never changes.

Patience obtains all things

Whoever has God lacks nothing;

God alone suffices.

— St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) [1]

 

 

[1] Teresa of Avila, “Nada te turbe.” Soon after Teresa’s death, these lines were found written in her prayer book. See note in The Complete Works of St. Teresa of Avila, trans. and ed. E. Allison Peers, vol. 3 (New York: Burns and Oates, 2002), 288.

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