So last week I decided to try to get myself back in some sort of order after just kind of living in a sense of chaos for the last few weeks. And one of the things I decided to do was take a bit each Sunday and write a few thoughts about that week’s readings from Mass…and yes, I do realize it’s Wednesday, but the whole Monsignor’s 40th anniversary extravaganza on top of the Zion advertising material by this weekend’s AYC kind of did a number on the time I had to do much of anything. In any case, I am now getting to it now (although it will definitely be a little rushed), and I will *ideally* be much better about this in the future. In any case, let’s get started.
(1) Is 55:10-11 :: (2) Rom 8:18-23 :: (G) Mt 13:1-23
The part that stuck with me about these readings was the seed analogy. Mostly because I love analogies. But there are so many good lessons out of here that I never really picked up on before. In the first reading, it talks about just like rain and snow don’t return to the sky until it has watered the ground, God’s word won’t return to Him until it’s served its purpose. While yes, that’s true, I looked at that reading in a slightly different light, in a much more earthly context.
There’s a reason why the old adage says “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Our words and actions, like the rain, will leave us, go water the ground and return to us. If we let ourselves be channels of love, then okay great. But more often than not, at least with myself, I find myself judging, or just being completely negative. Now don’t get me wrong, constructive criticism is great, but if you’re just complaining about someone or something, it’s going to have an effect on the people you talk to, and reflect back on you. Again, this is definitely something I have been trying to work on because I am more likely than not THE biggest complainer on the face of this earth. On a sidenote, this aspect of the topic was not in my original idea for this post at all; it just kind of hit me while I was re-reading the passages. Funny how that works.
Anyhoo, back to the seed analogy. In a nutshell, if a seed falls on ground where it can grow, awesome. If it falls on rocky ground, not so awesome. And if it falls in thorns, yeah sure it might grow for a bit but then it’ll get choked by the thorns and die. Just like with us: if we hear the Word of God and are receptive to it and let it grow in us, awesome. If we hear it and don’t really listen to it, not so awesome. And if we hear it and listen to it, but then let our worldly attachments get in the way, then it won’t do us much good. And that’s the part of the Gospel that I’m going to focus on in a nutshell.
Last week, I had a conversation with a friend who was questioning things about his own life. He was wondering if he was making the right decisions, if he was going in the right direction, or if he was just royally screwing up the plan that God had for him. And while listening to him, I began to notice that a lot of the cues he was taking to gauge how well he is doing were from other people. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for God speaking and acting through others. But sometimes, you have to take a step back and look into your own self and think, “In my own heart, do I feel a sense of peace in the direction that I’m going?” In any case, so I listened for a little while, and then finally (as ballroom is one thing we have in common) I asked him, “Are you actually listening to the music or are you trying to follow someone else’s routine?” And then that Sunday was another analogy about being receptive to God’s Word. The timing of that one was impeccable.
Ever since a friend of mine did an analogy to dance for a discernment talk on a retreat I went on, I fell in love with that analogy. Similar to the seed one, but much more relatable to me since I by no means have a green thumb. But with dancing, ideally, you move with the music; listen to it, and guide your moves in accordance with how the music is going. Just as in life: guide your thoughts, your words, and your actions on the call you feel in your heart. God is tugging at your heart as a lead guides his follow through the steps and turns of the dance.
Now on the opposite extreme, if you hear salsa music and you’re trying to Lindy hop, you’re doing something wrong. And a lot of people (myself included) have danced the wrong dance to the music playing at the time. Didn’t really flesh out that part of the analogy because that wasn’t quite what we were talking about, but I can do that on another day, as I may just have a post completely dedicated to this whole dancing thing.
But the one that I called him out on was trying to follow someone else’s routine. If you’re sitting there watching someone else do their dance, and you try to copy their moves, you’re a) more likely than not completely ignoring the music playing and b) more likely than not to stumble. Everyone’s got their own dance, and everyone’s got what works for them. You see it on a dance floor all the time. My best friend and I both love country dancing. He’s much more advanced than I am. He can flip a girl on the dance floor and pull it off. I could *try* to flip a girl on the dance floor…and there is a 99.9% chance that it would end in a complete disaster and maybe a possible trip to the ER for one or both of us. Therefore, I don’t do it…and won’t do it until I get a little practice (and upper body strength). But this is the part of the parable with the seed thrown into the thorns. You have this desire to follow the music, you have this desire to follow God’s call, but then you get caught up in whatever’s going on around you. And this is what happens to most of us. We want to follow our calling, we want to do what is right, but for whatever reason, the evil spirit in some form has convinced us that if we don’t follow the norm that is around us, we are wrong.
But what we have to remember is that each of us has our own dance, our own skill level, our own set of moves. Or if we want to go back to the plant analogy, we’re all given different seeds. But no matter what, we need to go where we’re called to go, not necessarily what others dictate we should do.
Again, I know this is a little rough and long-winded and probably rambling, but if I didn’t write this now, it probably would’ve joined the list of God knows how many things that I shoulda, coulda, woulda done. So I apologize if anybody else is reading this right now. I will likely be more coherent by the next one.