Tag Archives: Holiness

15th Sunday of the Year – Weeds, Seeds, and Growing Things

Garden 1

Study:  What are some virtues that you would like to cultivate in your life?  What are some vices that need to be weeded out?

Pray:  Everyday provides a new opportunity for personal growth.  Ask the Lord for the strength and wisdom to grow in holiness.

Serve:  Name one little thing you can do for another; now make it happen.

15th Sunday Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily

Since returning to the Cathedral as rector five years ago, one thing I miss is gardening.  Time is precious, and my current work does not readily lend itself to the effort it takes to keep a garden.  Yet all things being equal, there is no place I would rather be than rooting around in the dirt – picking weeds, pruning, staking, watering, hoeing, and “looking at” the plants.

Gardening is a metaphor that teaches us about ministry and life.  Spending time in the garden forces us to slow down and attend to a cycle that is not our own.  We pay closer attention to the wonder and beauty of nature, and we can be surprised and  amazed by what we see.

Plants truly are hopeful optimists in a world of pessimism.  Every year my flowers and vegetables produce thousands of seeds, each seed capable of new and beautiful life.  Yet for all these seeds only a few survive.  Some are taken as produce, some by the weather, and some by the rabbits!

Nature knows that life is difficult.  There are so many obstacles and challenges in the world that it is essential to cast hundreds and thousands of seeds, just so that a few might be able to continue the cycle of life.  The power of nature is that even a few seeds can change the landscape, bringing nourishment and beauty to the earth.

Jesus knew this.  He spoke to hundreds and thousands of the hope and life that are possible in His Father’s Kingdom.  He cured countless people and preached tirelessly to any who would hear.  Like the garden plants, he cast LOTS of seed.

Yet many people did not act on his message.  Many mocked him, plotted against him, or simply walked away.  Some got excited for a time, but then they got bored, discouraged, or caught up in other interests.  Simply put, much of the seed cast by Jesus was lost or destroyed.

Yet in his parable to the crowds Jesus shows his tremendous hope.  It only takes a few seeds for an incredible harvest!  A 30x, 60x, or 100x harvest was amazing in the ancient world (and it is not too shabby today!).  For those who heed the word of God, they, too, will yield a crop that will defy worldly doubt.

I’m willing to bet that all of us continue to carry the Lord’s seed in our lives.  The invitation today is that it will take root and flourish in our hearts.  We are given the chance to garden our souls, fostering a faith that is worthy of the Lord’s harvest.


The Feast of the Holy Family

Holy Family

Study:  What is going on in my family right now?  What dynamics, concerns, and strengths are we facing?

Pray:  Call upon God’s grace for your family.  Be specific and practical!

Serve:  How can we help bless our families right now?  What can we do to strengthen and unite together as a holy family?

Holy Family Readings

During this holiday season I am amazed at how many people reorganize their schedules and events to accommodate the many family events that happen during this time of the year.  Many people spend long hours on the road, sometimes celebrating Christmas two or three times with different branches of the family tree.

For some people this time of year can be a mixed blessing.  The stress of traveling with uncertain weather, compounded with the hectic expectations of the commercial side of the season, can sometimes lead us to view Christmas as an exercise in frustration.  This frustration is particularly true when we add the unique issues that are part of our own family.

All of us are part of a family.  Some big, others small, some scattered across the globe, others spaced along a couple of city streets.  In our extended families there are people we can’t wait to see, and there may even be some who are difficult to get along with for a conversation.  Within our families there is usually a mixture of joy and sorrow, peace and discomfort, calm and chaos.

Yet like it or not, God has planted us within these groups of people to help us find our place within the larger world.  Our families help define who we are, how we experience life, and what our dreams and hopes are for the future.  With all their strengths and weaknesses, our families help us understand the meaning and purpose of our lives.

The fact that we celebrate the family of Jesus helps us realize that God is present within our families, too.  The “Holy Family” was not perfect.  Hardship and persecution followed them before and after the birth of the baby Jesus.  They struggled and suffered like every other family, celebrating the joys and sorrows that accompany us all through life.

The struggles of the Holy Family help us see that the journey of our own families is not an easy one.  Yet we can take hope that just as God was present to them, so too will the Lord strengthen us.

The feast of the Holy Family can remind us all that God truly walks with us in our own families.  Within the blessings and limitations that exist in our families, we recognize God’s loving touch – shaping our lives and helping us see the “Holy Ones” that God has placed in our midst.