Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday Mass - Jun 16, 2024 - Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fr. James Wallace
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Homily Video

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time Homily Transcript

Beautiful readings this morning, beautiful parables from our lord. This time of year I always take my annual spiritual retreat. I go away for typically eight days in total silence and I pray to God. It’s like a vacation with the lord. 

I usually go out to a monastery of trappist monks in Iowa right outside of Dubuque, Iowa. It’s a beautiful monastery, but it’s in the middle of these corn fields and often I will go walking through the corn fields. Around this time of year the corn is about shin high or so. It’s green. It looks kind of leafy. There’s no obviously corn in the thing yet. Then I think usually what happens is sometime in September I kind of make my way back out there just for one or two day retreat when the school year starts and I see how the corn has fully developed. 

It’s great to see again around this time of year it’s just green. There’s no fruit in it yet but I know it’s going to come about. 

By the way I’m not a farmer. 

I’m a city boy here. I don’t really know how it happens but it gives me hope. 

Now, you all – and myself included, we have all these great desires. We want to be like that full corn stalk with the full grain of ear in it. We’re not there yet. We might be there in some other areas of our life but I bet there’s something going on that we wish we were better at. We had this thing figured out. We’re holier. 

You’re the green leaf right now in early June, the shin high piece of corn. You’re going to get there in God’s time. 

One of the ways we can work with God and cooperate with God is to pray. That’s why prayer is so important. 

By the way, today is father’s day. Happy father’s day to all the men out there who are watching this and those who aren’t Golfing right now or watching the us open – I think this is on right now. 

Here’s a little golfing analogy for you. I’m not a very good golfer myself. I want to be a good golfer. I want to be able to hit the ball far and straight. It’s a process. It doesn’t just happen overnight. The corn doesn’t just grow overnight. You don’t just become holy instantly. It’s a process. 

First process, the first step is recognizing that you’re not there yet. You don’t have the perfect golf swing. I can recognize that my ball is slicing or whatever. I’m not hitting it as far as I should. This takes humility. This is what Ezekiel is saying in our first reading. 

I’m going to bring low the lofty tree, the golfer that thinks he’s great. I’m going to bring you low. God will do this to us too. It’s not to humiliate us. It’s to open ourselves up for growth and improvement. 

You could just ignore that you’re hitting the ball poorly but you’re never going to golf that well. 

If you don’t like golf, use other images whether it’s playing the piano or some instrument or learning a language. You recognize that you’re not great. 

Second big step, you need help. You can’t figure it out yourself. If I could figure it out myself, I wouldn’t be a priest. 

I’d be on the PGA tour right now, but obviously that hasn’t worked. You find someone who knows what they’re doing – coach – and you also surround yourself initially with other good golfers. 

Again, apply this to the holy life, to the spiritual life. You get a spiritual director. You want to grow in an area of morality. Well surround yourselves with good inspiring people. Again, you might not be where you want to be but they’ll show you the way. They’ll inspire you. 

And then the final thing is, you got to keep at it. With golf, you can’t just expect to golf like once a month and be good. You can’t just expect to pray every now and again and be holy. The farmer can’t just water the crops every now and again and take a look at it once a month. He has to tend to it every day. So we pray every day. We surrender ourselves to God. Now, in golf, I fail at all these things. I don’t have a coach. I think I’m great. 

I’m really not. I don’t golf often. But in the spiritual life, I do it. You can do it too. 

You might even think about taking a retreat every now and again to allow the lord to show you the way. 

Remember, you can get to that full corn stalk. Our lord with his loving kindness will make us flourish and help us be fruitful for the kingdom of God. 


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