Friday, August 10, 2018

The Garden of the Lord

Feast of Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr

John 12:24-26

I wish I had taken a picture of our garden shortly after planting in the spring. It would be a barren picture of brown-grey dirt, empty, and by all appearances lifeless. Yet deep in that soil new life was beginning. Those dying seeds were about to rise to a new and more fruitful life. The tiny sunflower seed, only a half an inch long, has sprung forth to a flower that towers 14 feet over the garden and chicken coop. The almost invisible lettuce seeds have died and in their death emerged with layer upon layer of lush green life. The fragile corn seed, subject to the unrelenting attack of the birds, has died in the ground and leaped up giving forth fruit 30, 60, 90 fold! All of this abundant life came with a price, the death of those seeds.

Jesus teaches us this in today's Gospel, fittingly chosen for the Feast of Saint Lawrence. He says, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit." Not all of us, in fact, not many of us will have the opportunity to obtain the crown of martyrdom. Yet this is no excuse for not seeking to lose our life for the sake of the Gospel. Christ asks us to die to our sinful, selfish desires so that abundant life may spring forth from our souls. This is not easy but the words of Saint Paul, from the first reading, give us hope, "God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work." and again, "The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness."

FROM THE SAINTS - "I tell you again and again, my brethren, that in the Lord's garden are to be found not only the roses of his martyrs. In it there are also the lilies of the virgins, the ivy of wedded couples, and the violets of widows. On no account may any class of people despair, thinking that God has not called them. Christ suffered for all. What the Scriptures say of him is true: He desires all me to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth." - Saint Augustine

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