January 24, 2018
(St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
Jesus explained, “The sower sows the word. There are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them. . . . But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” Mk_4:1-20
The LORD spoke to Nathan and said: “Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: Should you build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day on which I led the children of Israel out of Egypt to the present,'” . . .
The LORD also reveals to you (David) that he will establish a house for you. And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, “I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his Kingdom firm. It is he who shall build a house for my name. And I will make his royal throne firm forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.” 2_Sm_7:4-17
Did you notice how the people in all four of the seed, or Word sowing situations of Jesus’ parable heard that Word. And the Word that they heard might have been stolen away, or died of malnutrition, or was smothered and choked to death. And it was only the Word that took root in the hearts and the lives of those who were prepared for it, that bore Fruit.
So we might ask, “How can we take that Word to heart if we do not understand?” And “How can we understand if we don’t listen?” And “How can we listen if we don’t hear?” And “How can we hear if there is no one to tell us?”
You see, beloved, it’s all just an endless circle that Jesus initiated.
Jesus IS the Word.
And by our hearing and listening, by our understanding and taking it to heart, we become the fruit, the new sowers who spread that Word on the paths, and over the rocks, and into the weeds, and some of it might even be lucky enough to fall upon the rich soil: those people who are just starving to hear the hope, and the goodness, and intimate love that God has for every one of us. And those who do, then become the new sowers. And the circle of life continues.
Now, David, as we heard in our first reading, wanted to build a house for God. The apostle Peter wanted to do the same thing for Jesus, by offering to build a tent at His Transfiguration. But, God, in both cases, told them, in no uncertain terms, that He didn’t need a physical abode here in our world. And neither should we, because when we have a physical home, we become secure, and comfortable, and so attached to that home that we never want to leave it.
And God knows that it is not in our best interest to become overly secure, and comfortably lazy.
If we build a house for God, and today we might even consider that house to be our Church building, then we are totally missing God’s point, as much as David was. You see, God’s home is not a static location, but a dynamic event.
The Kingdom of God is not a place where we will one day live, secure and comfortable, but it is an existence of mind and heart – that has no limit of place, or time, or person. And to live in that Kingdom begins with allowing God to dwell in our hearts.
Once in there, we then come to discover that it is not God who is OUR visitor, to do for as – as we will, but it is WE, who are the visitors in God’s home. We who are called to do HIS will.
This is what God was trying to get David to understand. This is what Jesus was trying to get His apostles and us to understand.
When we truly come to understand and live the fact – that it is God who wants us to live in His house; it is God whose Love binds us together in the dynamic of community, an ever-changing, ever-growing, eternal existence of mind and heart, that no house, other than His, can ever accommodate, then our greatest desire in this life will be to spread that seed, that Word of His great love, in every field, in every mind, in every soul we come across.
Then we become the sowers who bear His Fruit,
Fruit that has only one Purpose,
to sow more seed!
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