Sunday, July 10, 2005

a reflection on today's readings

When we trust in Jesus, especially in times when we are facing tough times, our faith deepens. In times when we find life tough—when we have to endure hardships and trials in life--and yet never losing sight of God’s love for us through Christ—our faith grows. This is when our soil, the soil of our souls, is being enriched.

Think of a gardener preparing his garden soil so he could grow new plants in it. To prepare the soil he throws in all sorts of fertilizers onto the soil: organic materials, organic waste, and compost. Those things that he throws into the soil may not look or smell nice, but gardeners know that those smelly and nasty bits that he dumps onto the soil actually enrich it and helps to keep it in good condition. It will help make the seeds that he will sow into the soil to sprout and his plants to thrive.

Or think of a farmer who lets his farm lie fallow and bare for a time so that birds can fly in to drop their droppings onto the soil, or so that cattle can come and graze on it, or for dead leaves to blow in, or even for the rain which helps the soil's condition.

The words from Isaiah says the same thing, but in a very poetic way: “Just as the rain and snow come down…watering the earth, making it fertile and fruitful.” Isaiah wasn’t merely talking about gardening and farming. Rather I’d like to think that Isaiah was talking about life itself: our life with God and with others. The difficulties and hardships that life sometimes throws and dumps at us--like the rain and snow of life that come upon us, or like those nasty, smelly bits that a gardener dumps into his garden soil--enrich our souls and deepen our faith. And this is because it is during these tough times that we really learn to rely on God’s help and to trust in God perhaps more deeply than before.

It is easy for us only to see the negative side of things when bad events happen in our lives. But rather we should also see that with these bad events comes an invitation from God to enter into a deeper and more mature faith and trust in him. “It’s bad when the storm show up in our lives,” one spiritual writer once said. “But it’s worse when the storm never shows.”

The apostle Paul understood this completely. He wrote his letter to the Romans that he considers his sufferings as nothing. He considers them as nothing because he looks beyond them and sees instead the glory that will be revealed in us and for us: the glory of Jesus Christ himself who likewise endured much suffering and trials during his life and ministry, but yet never losing sight of God’s love for him and never losing trust in our Father. When we do the same thing, we grow more and more like Jesus and our faith grows a hundred, or sixty, or thirty fold, and we too will share in Christ's glory when he returns.

If we remember this message especially when we are experiencing tough and stressful times, then we will see and hear what Jesus himself went through, and we will be blessed indeed. And what Jesus said and promised in the Gospel today will become true for us: “Blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”

Based on the readings from:

Isaiah 55:10-11
Romans 8:18-23
Matthew 13:1-23

Powered by Blogger