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Monday, July 17, 2017

God Makes the Seed to Grow

Sermon by Fr. Joseph Mungai, FMH
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 16, 2017
St. John the Apostle Awasi Catholic Church, Kisumu Archdiocese, Kenya

The story of the farmer who went out to sow

seeds reminds me of my personal experience when growing up in Thigio village. Thigio is not a fertile area but different kinds of crops are planted and these include corn, beans, Irish potatoes and peas . In fact, a majority of the people are engaged in agriculture in the my home area.

Before the rainy season, we would go to plough the land and prepare the soil for the seed. When the rains begin, we sowed the seed of maize and later black-eyed peas. 
We do not just plant any seed in the soil, but only the best seeds which we conserved from the previous year. It is always amazing to see how the seeds sprouted and grew to new plants. 

Usually, we nurtured the  plant by tilling and fertilising the soil. We pulled the weeds periodically. Having put a lot of effort into the plants, we expected to have a good harvest. Some farmers request a blessing over the seed before they plant. This gesture is an expression of faith in God Who supplies the seed, increases the store of food and enlarges the harvest. (2 Corinthians 9:10).

Various passages of scripture make reference to divine providence in sending the rain and making plants to grow. For example, the psalmist tells us how God cares for the earth, giving it water, filling it with riches (Psalm 64:10). Scripture also presents the word of

God as seed planted in human hearts intended to grow. And so the Prophet Isaiah compares the power of the word of God to the rain and snow which waters the earth and makes it yield fruit. (Isaiah 55:10). 

God takes care of the earth as He takes care of the human soul, planting the seed of his word in it and nourishing it with the living water of life. Indirectly, the Apostle Paul reassures his listeners that the suffering which they undergo in making the seed of the word grow in their earthly lives is nothing compared with the glory of the harvest in the life to come (Romans 8:18). These reassuring words serve as reminder of the Psalm which says: "They go out, they go out full of tears, carrying seed for the sowing; they come back, they come back full of songs carrying their sheaves." (Psalm 126:6) 

Planting the seed of goodness in a world full of evil is not an easy task. Neither is it easy to plant the seed of love, peace and 
kindness in a world full of conflict and sorrow.
Jesus tells the parable of the seed and the sower to illustrate how different hearts respond to the word of God. (Matt 13:1-23)

Do you realise that we are all farmers? The Chinese bamboo takes five years to grow. After planting, nothing appears on the surface of the earth until the fifth year. 

In fifth year, the bamboo grows 90 feet in only  six weeks. The same thing happens when we plant seeds in life. It often appears that nothing is happening.
It seems our efforts are in vain. But if we wait patiently, it will be revealed that God has taken our tiny effort and invisibly and silently made a big tree.

Here in Kenya, there is a tradition of tree planting to mark a specific event. Recently in Awasi each small Christian community planted trees. Each is called to plant a seed by tithing for the up-keep of the Church. Our  faithful undertook this effort with excitement. They believe their donations are the seed planted in expectation of God's blessings.

Sometimes, we spend a lot of effort on a project, and we wonder why we have no fruit.  If we exclude God from the planting, then our efforts are in vain. God makes the seed to grow.  Paul attested to this fact when he said:
"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth." (1 Corinthians 3:6). Little is much if God is in it.

May we make our hearts a rich and fertile soil that would allow the seed of the Gospel  to bear good fruit in our daily lives. May we also realize that our lives are planted by God to bear fruit that lasts. 

Let us continue to sow generously the seed of charity.

Fr. Joe and his congregation

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

*Fr. Joe Mungai, FMH, is a Franciscan Missionary of Hope, a relatively new congregation started in Nairobi, Kenya in 1993. He was ordained June 7, 2014. 

July 18, 2017: Fr. Joe's vehicle in Africa is busted. If you would like to help him serve his African parishioners send your donation to Fr Francis Kamau, Pastor St Mary of the Pines Catholic Church, 1050 Bert Kouns Industrial Loop, Shreveport,Louisiana 71118. The check or Western Union Funds should be made out to Fr. Francis Kamau for the purpose of repairing Fr. Joe Mungai's car in Kenya. He will forward the money. God bless you. 

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