April 19, 2020
Low Sunday/Divine Mercy Sunday
(Acts 2:42-47; John 20:19-31)
With our “isolation” going on, I decided since this isn’t a traditional sermon, in that there is no public Mass today, that I would be a bit different in my message approach. Think of this as somewhat a short story as well as something to make you ponder. Something to make you think deeper on something so simple. Maybe even motivation to spend some of your isolation time with a very important book.
A gentleman was holding in one hand a cloth bag and in the other a small shovel. He led another gentleman to a spot of soil that had been marked out for planting. He reached into the bag and placed in the other’s hand a sample of its contents.
“Seeds,” he said. “Potential miracles. Each one is filled with the potential for life, growth, blossoming, and fruitfulness. It’s all there in the seed—the plan, everything it will become, the plant, the flower, the tree. It’s all there inside the shell. Now what happens if the seed stays in the bag?” “Nothing. Nothing happens.”
“Exactly. All its potential stays unrealized. But if we take the seed and plant it in the soil, everything changes.
The seed becomes one with the earth. The shell opens up and the life inside the seed joins itself to the soil around it. It puts out roots and draws in life from the earth. The plan is activated, the promise unlocked, and the potential becomes reality.”
“So you’re going to plant the seeds?” the second gentleman asked.
“Yes,” he said, “but that’s not why I brought you here.” Reaching into his pocket, he took out a book and handed it to him. It was a Bible.
“What’s inside this?” he asked.
“The Word,” the second gentleman answered.
“Seeds,” he replied.
“The Word of God itself refers to the Word of God as a seed. The Bible is the container of many seeds. And every seed, every word is a potential miracle. And as is a seed, so is the Word of God. Each word has the potential to produce life, growth, blossoming, fruitfulness, and a miracle. It’s all there inside the seed, inside the Word.”
“But if the seed stays in the bag . . . ”
“If the Word stays on the pages and is never sown to life, then its life stays unlocked, unrealized. So the Word must be sown.”
“Sown to what soil?” the second gentleman asked.
“Sown into the soil of life,” he replied. “To the lives of others. And to the soil of your life. The seed must become one with the soil.
The Word must become one with your life. So you need to sow the Word into every situation of your life and let it become one with that soil—the soil of your heart, your thoughts, your emotions, your life.
For when the Word becomes one with your life, then its shell will break open, its plan will be activated, its promise unlocked, its life released, and its miracle begun.”
There are a couple of messages I wish to convey with this short story today.
First, some of you have either heard me say, or read in my sermons how much I love Lectio Divina. Latin, for Divine reading. Most specifically, Divine Reading of the Bible. I make it a point to try to do so every day. I absolutely love reading the Bible and meditating on the words. I make it part of my hour-long morning prayer each day.
One can never get enough of Lectio Divina once one applies themselves to doing so. It is helpful to have a few different versions. Study versions are nice, because no two will give you the same commentary. There are a vast number of versions to choose from, though I admit, not all are of equal value.
When taking time to read the words, letting them sink in. There is great value in reading the before and after of the passage you have chosen, to learns its context. Knowing the background can be awakening. Even when not doing this, the words still can have an effect on you because of the wisdom you discover.
One can read the same passage numerous times in life, and yet the Holy Spirit could very well lead you to a different meaning some months or years later. Still yet, one might read it many times and not know what it is supposed to say to you until many addition times of reading it.
This is exactly part of the whole. You see, the Holy Spirit, or Holy Wisdom, if you prefer, will use the Sacred Scriptures to help you, instruct you, communicate with you and even motivate you!
As you continue to do this as a regular ritual, Lectio Divina will help you to be more spiritual and possibly even open you up to more mystical connections with our blessed Lord.
Second, we must always remember that the Bible is not about how heaven goes, but how to go to heaven! The Sacred Scriptures are like a guide book on a long journey. In this case, a long journey in the kingdom of God toward our Lord Christ and ultimately to heaven with the Most Holy Trinity.
To plant the seeds for a better life, not only here and now, but in the life to come, we must plant seeds. Through Lectio Divina, we can either be the seeds or the one who plants them. Either way, we must be part of the planting. The planting must happen and it must happen at all times in all places.
We are the trowel our Blessed Lord uses to make the small holes and trenches in the soil. The more closely we are joined to the Lord, the better our planting and seedlings. Always using our guide book, the Bible, as best as we can and as often as we can.
Know that the Scriptures have been twisted for evil or good. If we look at them all and look through a lens of love, we will grow in better understanding, even amongst those passages some commonly use as condemnation toward others. Remember Christ writing in the dirt when a woman caught in adultery was brought to him? Maybe he was writing out the sins of each of those people to weigh against that which they claimed she had. Certainly, we need to view the teachings within it to know right and wrong, but not to become smug and feel as though you are somehow chosen to point fingers, because we are not without sin, any more than those who chased this woman to Christ.
If we look at the Bible more as a love letter from God; as book on how to love as God loves. When the Scriptures are used as condemnation, God grieves. In Lectio Divina form of studying and meditating on its contents, with practice, we allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us. Seeds are planted in our souls to help us not only be helpers to others, but also have a closer relationship with God.
In Lectio Divina we allow our Blessed Lord to use that trowel and help us to be his beautiful creation. To learn to be true Christians – Christ-ians – In Christ.
So, during your isolation, take the Bible off the self, dust it off, open it up and do some Lectio Divina.
God Love You +++