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  • Fr. John Jennings

Sowing & Reaping: What are My Hopes?

I’m not a farmer. In fact, I would not even call myself a gardener. However, by the kindness of others and good fortune, I find myself growing two tomato plants as well as about 20 basil plants. The first were given to me already rooted and growing, the second are a result of seeds I planted. Both “crops” are doing quite well.


I am sure that neither of the two crops knows quite whether they live in a desert or in a swamp. My care is rather unreliable, but perhaps that is an indication of how anything grows. Its good growth is from the soil and the environment in which it is planted. Put another way, it results from God’s care and nurturing. It’s God’s gift. The farmer or the gardener is only a very secondary factor.


Jesus often used farming as one of the settings for his parables. These were stories aimed at teaching his disciples the message of the Good News, God’s Reign is all around us and in us. Jesus used many settings for this purpose, fishing, household experiences, shepherding and farming to name a few.


In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus used a story of a farmer who sowed seed in his field. (Matt.13:4-9). He did this by broadcasting the seed, i.e. by throwing it about by hand. As the parable unfolds we see that the scattered seed fell on a variety of types of soil, some good, some not so good, some very poor. The result was as varied as the types of soil. The ground on which the seed falls might be varied, but it is still soil receiving the seed.


Part of our very nature is that we are seekers. In common we have some basic needs – air, water, food among others. We also have a basic need for seeking contentment and fulfillment. Human beings seem to quest or search constantly. One of our sources of meaning and fulfillment rests in what we Christians (and Jews and Moslems and so many others) call our relationship with God – our spirituality.


We crave spirituality, even when we do not use the term. We crave a relationship with God, even when we do not call it “belief in God”. We are seekers by nature. We are so like that soil, unique and different but each awaiting the seed in our own way.

In our Christian faith, we hold that God loves us and seeks a loving relationship with us, all of us. The very person of Jesus, human and divine, is God’s way of reaching out to our deep longing, our search or quest to make sense of life. What does it all mean? The beginnings of a response to this basic human question lie for us in the person of Jesus and more fully in the Reign of God that comes close as Jesus proclaims it in word and action.


A world in which the Reign of God is planted is a world in which there is life more than death, healing more than hurting, harmony more than division, peace more than war. Ultimately the Reign of God is the grail or the goal of the quest on which every human being embarks in life. This quest is to grow a spirituality that feeds this loving relationship with God and all that surrounds us.


Question: What do I seek in life?What are some of the challenges I face? Who assists me in my quest?

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