Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Futility of Life in the World; The Sublimity of Life in the Word

Normally on the Sabbath from time to time I like to mention the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in  the extraordinary form, today being the Fifth Sundayafter Pentecost. But I also peruse reflections on readings from the Missale Romanum, and today’s Gospel for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time teaches us what is at the heart of why the world we live in is the way it is. 

As background, in the Gospel according to St. Mark, we read: “…Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel. Here the word "kingdom" literally means "sovereignty" or "reign" and the power to "rule" and exercise authority. Repentance has to do with turning from our life as we live it and to will to open our hearts to God’s reign over us.

The Gospel for this Sunday (Parable of the Sower and the Seed) asks us to look at why it is some Christians hear the Word of the kingdom, yet fail to accept it as a call to conversion, i.e., to will to let God reign over our hearts. It is the ultimate question, for should we repent and ask God into our hearts, the Father will reveal to us the kingdom’s mysteries, making of us rich soil in which the Word Who is Life, Christ Our Lord, can grow and bear fruit.

Since the first humans (Adam and Eve) rejected God’s Word, the created universe has been subjugated to futility(Cf. Gn 3:17-19; 5:29). But God’s Word does not go forth only to return to Him empty. His Word awaits our response. Christians must allow that Word to accomplish God’s will in their lives, in case, as todays' Gospel says, the devil steal it away, or so as not to be choked by the utter pointlessness of worldly concerns.

In the Mass, the Word (Jesus) gives himself to us as His Body, that we might be made fertile, yielding fruits of holiness. Keep holy the Sabbath! Repent, submit to Christ's rule in your life and believe the Gospel message. Through the Sacraments Our Lord Jesus gives us the grace and power to renounce the kingdom of darkness ruled by sin and Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44) and the ruler of this present world (John 12:31). Repentance means to change my way of thinking, my attitude, disposition, and life choices so that Christ can rule over my heart rather than sin, selfishness, and greed. True repentance requires a contrite heart (Psalm 51:17) and sorrow for sin, and a firm resolution to avoid it in the future. Then we await with joy the great harvest of the Lord’s Day (CfMark 4:29; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 1:10)—when His Word will have achieved the end for which it was sent.