|At our grade school--Sapa Un Catholic Academy|
Last week I was in Omaha and I sure found Google Maps on my cell phone to be very helpful for getting around to see various people. But this app would have been no help at all if I didn't know the destinations. Without a destination there would be no directions on how to get there.
Each of us has an internal GPS that tells us something about our destination. It's called "conscience." It's an innate sense of right and wrong that doesn't need to be taught. Just think of the following situation: A teacher tells his or her first graders that at the end of the day all the boys will get a chocolate bar and all the girls will have to stay after school. There would be an outcry: "That's not fair!" Who told them that it wasn't fair? Children have an innate sense of "fairness" that doesn't need to be taught. Of course, as time goes by this moral GPS or conscience needs further development, updates as it were, that help it grow and stay on track.
This is where knowing our destination is essential. What's our goal or destination in life? In our second reading (2 Corinthians 5: 6-10), St. Paul writes about his and our "home," our true home. Earth is not our true home. Life on earth is a journey. Our true home or "haven" is heaven. We are here on earth to learn how to breathe the atmosphere of heaven, to get ready to go to our true home.
But we don't go there alone. A good friend of mine, Deacon Pat Coy of Custer, South Dakota, says that when we enter the pearly gates Jesus will be there to ask us "How many did you bring with you?"
In our Gospel (Mark 4: 26-34) Jesus presents another way of looking at this. He uses the image of farming. We are here on earth to scatter seeds--seeds of faith, hope, and love. We can till the soil and get rid of the weeds, but we cannot make those seeds grow. Only God can. Thus we do the best we can but leave the results to God. This is where faith and trust come into play.
Pope Francis put it well in his Apostolic Exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel." He wrote in sections 278 and 279:
Let us believe the Gospel when it tells us that the kingdom of God is already present in this world and is growing, here and there, and in different ways: like the small seed which grows into a great tree.... Because we do not always see these seeds growing, we need an interior certainty, a conviction that God is able to act in every situation, even amid apparent setbacks.... This certainty ... involves knowing with certitude that all those who entrust themselves to God in love will bear good fruit, without claiming to know how, or where, or when. We may be sure that none of our acts of love will be lost, nor any of our acts of sincere concern for others. ... The Holy Spirit works as he wills, when he wills and where he wills; we entrust ourselves without pretending to see striking results. We know only that our commitment is necessary. Let us learn to rest in the tenderness of the arms of the Father amid our creative and generous commitment. Let us keep marching forward; let us give him everything, allowing him to make our efforts bear fruit in his good time.