Dear Followers of Jesus,
Last week in a casual conversation, I asked one of our Holy Cross Novices who will be professing vows next Saturday to name one thing he learned in the Novitiate. He told me that he realized in a deeper way the seed of God’s presence within him. He went on to say that he would spend his life cultivating that seed, that real presence of God within his heart and life. That is his real vocation, to find that seed of love and hope and learn to share it with others.
The gospel today, Matthew 13:24-43, exactly demonstrates this point, searching for the Kingdom of God as small as a mustard seed. Hope is within each one of us. Every person has within his or her heart the seed of God’s miraculous presence, care and love. Everyone spends a lifetime searching for this hope, realizing this miracle and discovering love amid the calamities of life.
Hope is sometimes hidden. Hope is that mustard seed of faith that needs to be cultivated within our lives. Sometimes we lose our way in the tense struggles of daily life. Hope can wither when a new diagnosis of cancer falls upon our ears. Hope can be diminished when we do not get our dream job or do not get accepted to the college that best suits our career plans. Hope hides in tall grass when we lose our sobriety or send our child off to war. Hope shuts a door on us when a child is sick or our aging parent is diagnosed with mental illness. We all want to discover the seed that sprouts with new life and courage.
We find this mustard seed of hope when we finally surrender to prayer. Prayer is not saying formulaic words at certain times of the day, but a deep humility of surrender in reliance on God’s love and compassion. We do not have to go to a Novitiate to discover such a mustard seed. We just need to realize that God is God and we are not. Our prayer is the deep conviction that we are loved in the Kingdom of God right here on earth.
My experience teaches me that many people are afraid to pray. We fear even the tiniest seed of love. Prayer is always the first thing that fades away on a busy day. What we are really saying is that we are afraid to receive and claim the love that we know is ours. God waits for us, yet we turn away. We hesitate to engage in God’s fidelity toward us because then we will have to change. This change however, becomes a life of compassion, love and hope all the days of our lives.
Here are some things to ponder this week:
Jesus, help me rely on your presence within me so that…
God, you are present within my heart, but I stubbornly resist you because…
Holy Spirit, guide us toward hope in this life so that…