15th Sunday Ordinary Time – Cycle A
Is 55:10-11 Psalm Ps 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14 Rom 8:18-23 Mt 13:1-23
Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize
Last year the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to our Al Gore for his movie “An Inconvenient Truth” that chronicles the environmental impact of humanity on the planet. This movie is a call to all of humanity to clean up our act in how we are treating the planet – to become better stewards of the resources that we have so that our planet is around and livable for generations to come.
Impact of Environmental Sensitivity
The goal of his movie was to increase awareness of the damage that our modern, industrialized society may be causing to the planet, through pollution. Since “An Inconvenient Truth” was released countless websites have opened up to increase peoples awareness to their impact on the environment. On the Internet we can “measure our carbon footprint”. I have even heard in the news that the Democratic Convention here in Denver is gearing up an army of volunteers to have a “Green” convention – they want to have a “Carbon Neutral” impact on the planet.
Can we see the effects of our Sin?
In the Gospel today Jesus observes that people close their eyes and ears so they cannot see the love of God. Often we ignore how God is calling us in our hearts because of our addiction to sin.
The power of Al Gore’s movie is that it helped people to see the changes that are going on in the world today. A picture is worth a thousand words, when we see the snows retreating, pollution increasing and the world decaying, we become motivated to do something about it.
The readings today speak to us about the pollution that brings about corruption in our soul. The readings lead us to answer the question – What pollution is corroding away at my soul today?
- Is it in what I choose over loving my spouse?
- How I treat my family?
- My friends?
- What I watch, what I say what I do?
The American writer Upton Sinclair once wrote that “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it”. What is the paycheck that we get from our sin? Why do we, why do I choose again and again to immerse my soul in this corruption?
How the Duomo in Florence might help us to see sin
In a certain way, I think that our culture suffers from an inability – a set of closed eyes and ears to the truth of who Christ is, and the truth about the state of our souls. If St. Paul were able to make a movie about the spiritual pollution that our souls are in he might choose the painting on the ceiling of the dome of the Cathedral in Florence, Italy. This dome is painted with this magnificent scene of the Last Judgment. At the bottom we see devils taking delight in torturing poor souls that are addicted to sin. This is one way for us to visualize the affect of our sin on our soul.
Christ is the Inconvenient Truth! – Why Inconvenient?
If St. Paul were to make a movie today, he might title it “Christ – The Inconvenient Truth!” When we live lives that are immersed in sin, we encounter Christ as “The Inconvenient Truth”. Christ is inconvenient because the light of his love exposes the ugliness of our sin. He makes it difficult for us to persevere in the corruption that we surround our souls with. In the Gospel today Christ invites us to become open to His word, that He might dwell in us and bear fruit. This leads us to ask the question – What kind of soil is the life I am living for the Word of God?
- How do I accept the Word of God into my heart?
- How fertile is my life for the Kingdom of Heaven?
- Am I living a life that is liberated by the redemptive love of Jesus, or am I still mired and trapped by my sin?
Christ is the Inconvenient Truth – Why the Truth?
Isaiah reminds us in the first reading that the Word of God is effective, it has a purpose, and God sends it to accomplish that purpose. The purpose of God’s word is to cleanse us from the corruption and pollution of Sin that leads us to death. Our challenge is to open our hearts to be able to receive the Word of God. In his letter to the Romans St. Paul speaks of how all creation is groaning for the coming of God at the end of time. I think that often times the words of St Paul’s readings today strike us as empty words because we have lost sight of the power of the great gift of Baptism. So let us go back in our lives to the very beginning when we encountered God in our Baptism. In Baptism the Holy Trinity comes and makes His dwelling in us in our souls. This is a profound moment in our lives. If this is the gift that Christ has already given us – an opportunity to spend our lives with God, how much greater will it be when we come to see him face to face.
Baptism - Our First Fruit of Creation
Another way to reflect on this truth - All of us here today who are baptized have experienced the first fruits of salvation – our baptism; however we have such an impoverished sense of salvation. We are called to drink deeply of the grace that God has given to us so that we are truly groan for the coming of salvation. If we have a superficial understanding of the gifts that God has already given us (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) then we don’t groan with St. Paul and the rest of creation because the fail to recognize the treasures that we have already been given.
Decay = Sin / Growth = Life
When we encounter decay in our world, we are reminded of decay in our soul, likewise when we encounter growth in the world, we are reminded of our need to grow in our relationship with God in our Soul. We do this by living lives that are more and more closely in touch with our creator. The more in contact to the Word made Flesh that we become the more sanctified we are, and through us the world becomes. This is what our encounter with the Inconvenient Truth does – it transforms the world through sanctification.
Reduce your Sin Footprint so that God can increase His Grace Footprint
The readings today are chocked full of the imagery of nature, of rains, growth, seeds and life. Jesus speaks of the seed – the Word of God that is planted in our hearts is watered, takes root, grows and in its own time bears fruit 30 or 60 or 90 fold. We are called to live lives that reflect “The Inconvenient Truth” to the world. As humans, paying attention to our “Carbon Footprint” is part of our stewardship of the planet. As Christians, we have the serious responsibility of taking care of our “Sin Footprint” because we are not just called to be “Sin Neutral” but we are called to be “Grace Positive” – to change the world so that it is sanctified through our living out of the Gospel; This is why St. Paul says that “All creation groans for the salvation of the Sons and Daughters of God” – because when we allow Christ to redeem our lives, our world is redeemed, purified, sanctified with us.