AD SENSE

3rd Week, Friday, Jan 29

 3rd Week, Friday, Jan 29

Hebrews 10:32-39 / Mark 4:26-34 

Don’t give up; Be patient!

 

Joel Weldon, an expert on human potential, says that it takes five years for the sprout of a bamboo tree to emerge after the bamboo seed is planted. Once the sprout does emerge, it soars to a height of 90 feet in six weeks. Impossible? “Not at all,” says Weldon.

All during those five years, the bamboo seedling has been putting down an elaborate system of roots—miles of roots. It is this elaborate root system that enables the plant to grow so miraculously, once nature triggers the above-ground growing process. The bamboo farmer’s patience finally pays off in the most remarkable way imaginable.

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How patient are we, especially with the young and the elderly? “Lord, give me patience! And give it to me right now!” Anonymous

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We hear for the first time that the “Hebrews” for whom this letter was destined had to undergo persecution and various difficulties for following Christ. The author encourages them vividly to persevere in their faith, for God is faithful to his promises.

The kingdom of God does not irrupt in our human world with extraordinary signs and power. It is a patient, modest growth, beginning with a tiny seed in the personal salvation history of every person, in the salvation history of humankind. It is constantly threatened by sin, which is the refusal to grow.

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There is nothing really nice or good about being down. When something is down on the ground, it is in a very vulnerable position in that it will be stepped on. Being on the ground is certainly not at a superior position. And when we are feeling emotionally down, then we will be prone to outbursts and other kinds of behaviour that will only drag us further down.

So whether physically, or emotionally, or spiritually, when we are down we will be vulnerable and prone to all things that are not nice and not good. A phrase that is often used is that we will call something or someone "down and out".  But does being down also means being out? We say it so often that it becomes like a mantra: down and out, so much so that when one is down, it subsequently means that one is out, or has to be out. But when we listen to the parables of Jesus in the gospel with regards to the seeds, then we will come to see that down doesn't necessarily mean out.

In fact, down means up, so it is not down and out, but down and up. The seeds show us that. Only when they are down on the ground or in the ground that they will begin to sprout and grow and bear fruit and put out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in their shade. Even when the 1st reading talks about sufferings and persecutions and being stripped of everything, others would see those early Christians as being down and out.

But the 1st reading tells us those early Christians might be down, but they are down and up. Because they know that they own something that was better and also it is a lasting reward. But all this reversal of the world's ideas and the mantra of being down and out, comes from none other than the Resurrection of Jesus.

In rising from the dead, Jesus showed us that down is not out; in fact, it is down and up. Anyway, it is also said that what goes down must come up! So, whenever we feel physically, or emotionally, or spiritually down, let us know that it is not going to be out.

Let us look at Jesus on the Cross and He will raise us up. Let us also look at the Sacred Heart of Jesus and know that that is what He will do. It is a promise from His Heart.

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    Encountering Christ:

    1. God Makes the Plant Grow: Farmers work hard. They worked even harder in Jesus’s time, but for all the work they did, they couldn’t make a plant grow—even today’s farmers cannot make a plant grow. What is the farmer’s job then? To help the plant grow. A farmer removes obstacles to a plant’s growth, like weeds. The farmer also gives the plant what it needs to grow and be healthy, if necessary, like water and fertilizer. The farmer provides the best conditions for the plant to grow and the plant responds by growing. Jesus tells us that his kingdom is like this. We don’t make it grow. God does. Our job is to provide the best conditions for the kingdom to grow, first of all in our hearts and then in the hearts of those around us.

    2. Small Beginnings: God can bring amazing results from small beginnings. When the right conditions are present, the growth of the kingdom is amazing. Jesus compares it to a mustard seed, which is about the size of a period at the end of a sentence. Yet the full-grown plant is large. As a boy, I often saw wild mustard as tall as five or six feet, and under perfect conditions they are supposed to grow as tall as eight feet. Jesus was emphasizing how small the beginning of the Church would be. So small as to be almost invisible, the Church would grow to provide shelter to Catholics for thousands of years. 

    3. Lazy Farmers: How often we worry about the Church today. God’s kingdom sometimes seems to be disappearing from our society. Jesus is telling us in this parable that the opposite should be happening. With the right care, even a much smaller Church could transform society. Where are today’s farmers to sow the seeds, to remove obstacles to growth, to provide what the kingdom needs to grow? It’s only when Christians are idle that the kingdom shrinks. When we realize that each of us is responsible for spreading Christ’s  kingdom in society, we will see these parables come to life before our eyes. We will see the unstoppable growth of the Church.

    Conversing with Christ: Lord, I’m sorry for not realizing, for sometimes forgetting, that I am here to help you in your mission of bringing all souls to heaven. Please help me to be ready to encourage, to give good example, to teach those you put in my life. 

    Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will study something about my faith so that I know it a little bit better, and can be more faithful in the way I live my life and help those who ask me about my faith.

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    Let us pray: Patient God, curb our impatience when we try to impose your truth and justice and peace on a world and even a Church not yet disposed to welcome them. In our helplessness and discouragement may we come to accept that all true growth comes from you. We can only plant the seed: make it bloom into a mighty tree that shelters many. We ask this through Christ our Lord.