For Saturday of the Twenty-Fourth Ordinary Week of the Church Year
The Church chooses to announce this parable at least three times a year at Mass.
Are we getting it?
In his parable, the Lord is telling us he has expectations of us.
He has planted a seed in each of us.
The seed is the Word of God.
There is another seed he plants together with his Word in us.
It is his Spirit.
He expects us to be “good soil”, freely receiving these seeds, and working actively so that they grow in us, flourish and bear fruit.
He expects us to yield profit thirty, sixty or even a hundred times over.
At the very least, honesty invites us to admit that God is looking for results.
He expects our lives to be fruitful for his kingdom.
In creating man, God did not make a merely earthen body.
He also made us spiritual.
Forming the human body from the soil of the earth, God breathes his own Spirit into it— the Spirit whom our faith calls “the Lord, the Giver of Life”.
Whether a man has faith or not, he is a human being because God’s own Spirit is in him.
That sets man apart from the rest of creation.
God’s Spirit in us is the reason we are images of God, after the Son of God.
Since he gave us life by giving us his Spirit, God can and does expect results from every human person, believer or not.
However, through faith and the sacraments, Christians receive a further and more specific gift of the Spirit.
For this reason, God expects even more from Christians than from unbelievers.
He expects from us profits thirty times, sixty times and even a hundred times over.
None of us may dare claim to have so much as begun to produce a hundredfold.
Still, there is little reason for despair or cynicism.
God in his grace makes himself into the possibility of our achieving his expectation.
How, then, might we be or become good soil and bring forth the hundredfold harvest?
The Lord explains today that good soil hears the word, holds onto it with a GENEROUS and GOOD heart, and brings forth fruit through PERSEVERANCE.
GENEROSITY, GOODNESS and PERSEVERANCE are natural virtues that even unbelievers have.
Though they are natural virtues, our Christian faith recognizes that they coincide with God’s supernatural invitation and command.
They coincide with the revealed law of God, so that God does not destroy or replace them, but makes them blossom into salvation.
God wrote his ways and laws into the nature of the human mind, heart and body.
That is what the Church calls “natural law”: the Word of God speaking and the Spirit of God breathing in us, making us uniquely HUMAN— that is, spiritual and not merely animal.
Through the Incarnation of Christ, through his death on the cross and in his Eucharist, God breathes, plows, buries and plants himself ever more deeply into the heart, mind, body and blood of our lives.
It is HIM that we bear like a seed within us.
It is HE who grows, blossoms and yields a hundredfold.
However, it is OUR human nature that rose and blossomed divine in him in his Resurrection, and OUR human nature that is seated now in him at the right hand of the Father.
In the end, our salvation and final resurrection are the hundredfold yield of fruit that the Lord expects.
The Eucharist is the real presence of all this.
It is Christ himself in his body and blood, filled with living and life-giving honesty, goodness and long-suffering patience.
Today and at every Mass, we dare to receive God’s Spirit, his grace and his Word through the Gospel and the Eucharist.
Let us be grateful for this, but let us also be mindful that with these gifts come also God’s expectations.
Let nothing go to waste.