Growing Plants for Idiots

2021 11th Sunday Ordinary Time (B)

Some body gave me a present recently of a box of seeds. No one has ever given me such a present before. And at first I just left the box on my shelf, I didn’t know what to do and to be honest I wasn’t that interested. But then my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to look inside the box to see what was there. Inside there were all sorts of things: paper mache pots, compressed soil in bags that grew to five times the size when you added water, there were sticks for the 8 different kinds of herbs and then there were the seeds themselves. So I set about putting the seeds into the pots; it was so easy: sowing for idiots. The very next day one of the herbs was already growing. I was amazed, that it should have grown so quickly. Then the next day another seeds spouted, then another. There was just one that held back, the coriander for some reason, but when I looked at pot before this mass even that had started to grow. I did feel pleased with myself; and yet I had done very little. 

So I was delighted when I saw that the gospel today was about seeds and growth. The farmer plants the seed and we’re told, ‘night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how he does not know.’ That was just like me. It is wonderful to watch the growth; but all we do is watch. Like the farmer I did nothing; except pour a little water on the seeds from time to time. It’s a marvellous image of what God is doing in us. 

The seed of God was placed into us on the day of our baptism. And over the years that seed grows. Only it’s not a seed; it’s the love of God. It grows and grows without us doing much.  It is God who makes our love grow. God is the best of farmers. He knows how to get the most out of his crop. A good farmer will go dig up the weeds. And yet, weeds are not always bad for the growing shoot; indeed, a weed can make a plant grow stronger; because it has to fight to grow. And so for us, sometimes our weaknesses, our sinfulness, can make us stronger. We try to weed them out but try as we might like weeds they keep coming back; they won’t leave us alone. But our sins keep us on our knees, they keep us humble. And so a good Christian won’t be perfect. He or she will have struggled with sin, and continues to struggle. But that struggle leads to a deeper faith.  God, the good farmer, uses all sorts of means to help us grow; some you would expect but some you wouldn’t: as I said: God can even use sin to help us grow.  And at the end of the day, when our love has grown strong, we should thank God; because it was all His work. 

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