Sowing seeds in sidewalks

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Homily for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Scriptures for today's Mass)
  Audio for Homily

So, I get the parts about the seed falling on the path
and on the rocky ground and in the thorny patch
and in the field of rich soil.

What I’m wondering about is
– the seed that falls on the sidewalk.

Have you ever been walking down the street
and come across a flower growing out of a crack in the sidewalk?
No sign of soil – just this flower, looking like it’s strong enough
to crack through from underneath the sidewalk
and poke its head out on our side.

I wish Jesus had said something about that
– something about seeds and sidewalks.

In a way, in the first reading, Isaiah does get at this when he writes
that the seed God sows,
the word that goes forth from God’s mouth:  Will.  Not.  Fail.
It will not return to the Lord void, but rather,
will achieve the end for which God sent it.

I gotta believe that those are the seeds that grow through sidewalks.

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I’m sure that at different times in our lives, each of us is like
the seed on the path, or the rocky ground or in the thorns
where nothing takes root.
And at least once in a while, we’re like the rich soil
which yields 30 or 60 or 100 fold.

But could it be that much of the time
-  you and I are more like sidewalks?
Maybe it’s in the sidewalks of our lives
that God plants the seed of his word.

So, maybe that seed is waiting, waiting for us to give it a little attention,
to encourage its rooting, its sprouting, its reaching up through
the sidewalk concrete thickness of our troubles
to blossom and bear fruit.

A crack in a sidewalk is often seen as something broken,
something needing to be fixed, to be repaired.
But maybe the fault lines in the sidewalks of our lives
are precisely the places where God has planted a seed, a word,
of hope, of healing…   of challenge, of consolation…
a seed, a word of nourishment meant to grow
and feed our hungry hearts and those around us…

No  seed or word that comes from the Lord returns to him void.
What seeds, then, what words of the Lord
are buried in the hardened places of my heart,
lodged in the cracks and crevices of my mind and memories?

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What seed, what word has the Lord planted in me
that’s waiting to be fruitful, waiting to sprout up in my life,
breaking through the sidewalks of my every day existence?

Unlike the farmer, the Lord seeds his field all year long, 
for with God, every season is the planting season,
every season is the growing season
and every season is harvest time.

Isaiah told us how the word of God comes down like rain and snow
–covering, soaking, blanketing everyone and every thing.
The seeds of God’s word have been planted in every one of us,
over and over and over again.
Have those seeds taken root? have they sprouted?
has the Lord’s word come to harvest in our lives?

Some of those seeds have been trampled, others never took root
and some were choked by thorns.
But in each of us there are seeds still waiting
to push up and grow and bloom in unexpected ways,
in unexpected places in our lives:
like flowers, breaking through sidewalks.

The different “sidewalks” of all our lives have led us to this place,
to the Word of scripture and to this Table
where Jesus, the greatest Word of God’s love, takes Flesh and Blood,
and through the Bread and Cup of the Sacrament
plants his life deep within us, in Communion.

May the One who gave his life for us bring to harvest
the seeds of God’s word, planted in the sidewalks of our lives. 

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1 comment:

  1. If a flower on a sidewalk can be so impressive, think about how much more beautiful a child in the womb can be, regardless of how it was planted.


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