A special thank you this week to our friends St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Constance, and St. Rosalie Parishes Chicago in the congregation.

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

What everyone here at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls knows for sure, but perhaps many of you do not know, is I love to garden. I love gardening. And when I came to Mercy Home years ago, I sort of insisted that we put a garden on both campuses. We have a large garden here on the boy’s campus, and we have even a larger garden down on our girl’s campus. Part of it is selfish because I love tomatoes, I love basil, I love peppers. And that’s what we grow in the gardens. We keep it simple. But what I also love about it is watching our children participate in planting the seeds, in watching how things grow. And in the Fall, or the late Summer going out, and the harvest is plenty.

We get hundreds if not thousands of tomatoes. We make buckets full of pesto from the basil. And the peppers are used for a variety of reasons in our kitchen. I also like to grow sunflowers, so on both campuses we have sunflowers that grow 10, 12 feet tall. I just get a kick out of it. But I know it’s good for the kids too. To see things go into the ground, to take root, to grow, and we don’t quite know how it grows, but it happens, and then to eat the fruit of the harvest, very important. And a lot of our young people here at the home are involved with our gardens. It takes planning. It takes organizing. It takes measuring.

And that has nothing to do with what Jesus is talking about in the gospel today. If someone who was a gardener or a farmer listened to what Jesus was saying in the parable today, they would think that he had lost his mind as he talks about the sower. The sower goes out to sow seed. Seed was terribly precious in the time of Jesus as it is today. But what does the sower do? A farmer or a gardener wouldn’t understand what Jesus is talking about. The sower goes out and with reckless abandon takes the seed and throws it into the air, not caring where it lands.

It lands on hard soil on the path. Some grows up between the thickets and thorns and gets choked off. Some of it into very shallow soil and the sun burns it. And some produces. Jesus is talking about God’s grace and God’s love, that it is given to us in wild abandonment, that God so loves each of us, he gives it to us freely and hopes that we will embrace that grace, embrace that word. The seed is the word of God, embrace it into our lives, nurture it, and allow it to grow. And the fruits are 30, 60, and 100 fold. We know that as followers of the Christ.