Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Praised be Jesus and Mary, now and forever, Amen.

Life rolls on so quickly. It’s like a film that starts rolling and after some time it ends. Most of the times it ends without us being totally aware of it. And when this happens, we find ourselves surprised and sometimes shocked, especially when we aren’t prepared for it. An ancient dictum tells us that there’s nothing permanent in this world except change. We have been grappling with change because this is part and parcel of life. Change is what keeps us moving. This is what makes life challenging but at the same time fascinating. Change allows us to flourish and be productive in all aspects of our life. It grants us the possibility of transforming our life for the better. We are not created to stay where we are for the rest of our life. It has been God’s constant desire for us to shape our characters and the predilections of our hearts and minds so that we will truly grow according to His divine plan. 

Having been confronted by this wonderful desire of God for our life, a huge question arises in our midst: DO WE ALLOW GOD TO SHAPE US THE WAY HE WANTS US TO BE? I’m quite sure, it requires real humility on our part for us to be able to faithfully answer such a question. Oftentimes we are driven by our own instincts to operate the way we want to. We can’t deny the fact that human beings that we are, we would like to get things done according to our own plans and expectations. However, God has always magnificent plans. And His plans are always way better than ours. We may not understand it but when we try to swallow our pride and bend our human principles as we give way to His ways, we will see how truly wise our God is. One of the secrets of growing according to God’s expectation is to let God be the master of our minds and hearts. Human flourishing and sanctity become possible when we allow God to be involved in our daily human activities.

As daughters and sons of God, members of this parish community, and most all, baptized to be faithful disciples of Christ, we are strongly encouraged to prioritize God’s amazing plan in our life. We can do that by being “scattered seed on the land” or by being a “mustard seed sown in the ground.” We are these seeds buried in the ground. We have all the potentials and opportunities to “sprout and grow.” Initially, we may think that the process of sprouting and growing is the work of the seeds, but the reality is, God is behind of all this. We who are the “scattered seed on the land” will never sprout, grow, and bear fruit when God does not permit it. We are totally dependent upon how God would like us to flourish. The potentiality of the mustard seed into becoming the largest plant (as the evangelist St. Mark interestingly puts it) depends upon God who alone knows how the seed springs up and grows to produce its fruit.

My beloved parishioners of St. Jerome, the gospel this weekend talks about the Kingdom of God which is likened to “a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground…, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants…” We are invited to be like this “mustard seed” or “scattered seed on the land” that has all the potential to grow and bear fruit. We are reminded to grow wherever we are sown. And this is precisely what God is telling us. We allow ourselves to be sown, and God will do the rest. The only thing that is required of us is to be open to what God would like us to be. In that way, we will become effective as well as productive members of the Kingdom of God. When this happens, even though life rolls by so fast, each one of us will be able to say: I did it and I did it right because I allowed God to change me for the better for the sake of His Kingdom to reign in my life.

May God bless you and your family,

Fr. Joel Ricafranca, RCJ

(Associate Pastor, St. Jerome Parish)