Sunday, July 24, 2011

of wheat and weeds and pearls of great price

Yeah, one of those homily posts!

The story of the wheat and the weeds was the Gospel reading for this past Sunday, as well as yesterday - Saturday. My oldest child proclaimed this as his "favorite Gospel" a couple of years ago, because he "gets it". So it was kind of cool (at least in a nerdy, Catholic mom sense) that last Sunday was his birthday and he got to hear his favorite Gospel.

He didn't think it was so cool, but we got to hear it TWICE! I (we) all had to serve at 8:30 Mass, so that was one chance to hear, and then the opening Mass of RISE on Sunday evening was another chance to hear. Two Masses in one day! Perish the thought!

Our priest really didn't address the wheat and weeds part of the Gospel. He focused more on the second reading and the Spirit making up what we lack in our imperfect prayer. He noted that prayer - inasmuch as the Spirit makes up for what we lack - is really God talking to God. He said that humility is the foundation of all prayer. And that prayer is not so much about what we do and say to God, but what God does within us. Our prayer is always imperfect - because we are imperfect. But God, in His great love, takes what we offer Him, perfects it, and gives it right back to us. Things that you can take with you and meditate upon later.

The opening Mass focused more upon the "whoever has ears OUGHT to hear" part of the Gospel. The homily - fitting for the opening night of a weeklong retreat for teens - was about having open eyes to see, open ears to hear, and open hearts to receive.

The Saturday closing Mass was the same Gospel as the opening Mass - in shorter form. The priest giving the homily for that one, said how nice it might be if Jesus had used Rice, instead of wheat, for the parable. That way, you could have "R" and "W" instead of 2 "W's", and you could stamp the "good" people with "R" and the "bad" people with "W" and it would make it all so much simpler.

Then he asked them to consider that the field was really their heart...and in that field there was wheat growing - the kindness and generousity and selflessness. But that there were also weeds growing...selfishness, doubt, fear, pride. What we are called to do, then, is to "feed the wheat and trample the weeds". We do this by staying close to Jesus in his Word and in His Sacraments, when we speak the truth in the face of opposition, when we defend those who cannot defend themselves, when we pray.

Today was the beautiful reading about the "pearl of great price". I'll bet everyone reading this has interpretted that passage, by placing themselves in the role of the merchant who seeks after the "pearl of great price" (Jesus). How about turning that around, he suggested. And to let us know that he hadn't totally lost his mind, he read an excerpt from JPII about "God seeking after man".

How about, if Jesus is the merchant, and WE are the pearl of great price? He looks for us, He seeks us, and He gives e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g for us. As He looks for us, he doesn't find beautiful gems. No, he finds rocks - rough around the edges. But He is able to see the beauty we can become with a little polishing and cutting. The cutting and polishing involves pain, and we have to surrender to that. But, he calls us to be conformed to the image of His Son, justified, glorified. (2nd reading).

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