Last week, I shared what was one of present days author's understanding on how we approach life, and all of its realities. We are either pre-occupied, closed, stuck or ready. Well this week a very well know Teacher gives us His understanding of how we are, as the gift of life, is offered to us. Jesus, at His teaching best, describes the four dispositions we are going to have as The Good News is proclaimed, presented, offered to us.
In the parable of The Sower, the Prophet Jesus, wants to get across the human conditions THE Word, The Message of Life, meets. These are universal realities. As you have heard me say we are each and every person, place and event in the Gospel. So, we need never be upset when we identify with any of the places, and people Jesus presents to us. No matter what the place our God is calling out to us. Calling to remind us we are loved as WE ARE. "Do not be afraid I am with You. Our God is always saying to us. Wherever you are, there I AM.” There is NOTHING that can get in the way of God’s covenant love for us. Nothing that we can do, or anybody else can do to us, can separate us from The Mysterious love, of Our Beloved. Been reflecting on you belovedness lately? Henri Nouwen recommends we claim our belovedness again and again. There is so much in life that will lead us to not only question, but sad to say, deny who we are in the unconditioned, unlimited love of our God. We will have an IDOL for a god, not The Living God Jesus came to reveal to all human beings, through His mission and His ministry. That message is still being offered to all, in every moment.
For those of us who do not claim our belovedness we will find our reality in the first three situations, and persons described in the parable.
Ok, let’s start with the seed that fell on the path. The path was the place where people walked. We all have travelled paths left by others. The paths, the trails, left on South Mountain, by those who have gone before, are hard and unyielding. You can see everything that has been dropped. Ever notice the fields in farm country after the snow has melted how hard and unyielding the ground is. The farmer know that soil must be busted open before seed can be sewn.
Life has the ability to harden us. There is the story Fr. Rohr tells it is about the walleyed pike. The fish was placed in a glass tank. As it swam around little fish we dropped into the tank. they were duly swallowed up. This went on for a time. Then there was a glass plate placed into the tank. The little fish were placed behind the glass. the pike proceeded to attack the fish, and bumped it's snout against the glass. Eventually the fish gave up. The glass partition was then removed. The little fish swam around, and around the pike. He starved to death. Very sad is it not? Yet that is what plays out time and time again in so many lives. In my years in parish work I have met men and women who were unable to believe that they were loved. After listening to their life's story it came as no surprise to me the great challenge they were facing. What had happened, and was happening challenges the possible existence of a loving and just God.
The ground must be broken open for there to be a harvest. We who have become hardened, must fins away to break the hard shell we have created for self-protection. The hard shell is created, for survival. Is there a way out? Is there a way to leave behind existing, and claim life? Of course there is. It is not easy, I am sorry to say. It is possible. It is a process. It takes time, and with Grace, and through God's INFINITE love it has happened, and is happening for millions of our fellow human beings. The shell was cracked, the mask slowly removed, and a new way of living was revealed. As it was, so it is, and ever shall be.
Beginning to own our feelings is the first preparatory step. As I write this i am smiling. Here there is an Irishman writing about feelings. We would not know a feeling if it hit us between the eyes. In the Irish culture, many of you have been infected with this Irish flaw, you are wined and dined to prevent a real truthful feeling from being expressed. Booze and food, YES, but please no feeling talk. That is how the family secrets are never expressed to the detriment of generations. I had to learn the way to my truth was to see within that dangerous word feel lay the answer. 'F" is feel, "E" is experience, "E" is express, and the "L" is to let go. I have also learned the way to a deepening health is, feel, deal, reveal, and heal. Whatever is not expressed cannot be healed. Whatever is not transformed is transferred.(Rohr) We again are faced with this decision, is it life or is it death? The choice is ours every moment will i be a life giver, or a death dealer? Do I keep the words of Jesus ever before me, ' My wish for you is that you will have life, and have it abundantly " The harvest will be abundant. like all harvests they take time. Nature cannot be rushed or hurried. The working’s of the Spirit cannot be hurried as well. My mother taught me this so many years ago, “The mills of God grind very slowly, but they do grind so very true". The words of Jesus, our Good Shepherd, “Be not afraid I am with you........until the end of time".