Deacon Jerry Franzen CATHEDRAL – JULY 19, 2020
Wisdom 12:13, 16-19 Romans 8: 26-27 Matthew 13: 24-43
Praised Be Jesus Christ. Good Morning
*A mother asked her daughter if she would like an ice cream sundae.
The daughter replied, “No, I would like it today.”
We are not a very patient society.
I have recently had two stays in the hospital, so I have learned,
once again, just why the person being treated is called a patient.
We have become so accustomed to instant gratification,
everything at our fingertips when we want it or need it.
**I also have heard that patience is the ability
by which we can endure something
as long as it happens to the other fellow.
In these days of trial with the coronavirus
it certainly can be hard to be patient.
Patience is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
The fruits of the Spirit arise in us and are to be used by us,
for the good of the community.
They are listed in St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians (5:22-23),
and develop in us from the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit
which we receive at Baptism and
which are reinforced at our Confirmation.
Patience is at the heart of the readings today.
In today’s first reading from the Book of Wisdom,
we heard of God being addressed as “caring for all”,
as master of all things and lenient to all.
Imagine what it would take to be lenient to everyone,
when one has power over all things, can do all things.
God is very patience with our shortcomings.
The reading goes on to say, “..though God is the master of might,
He judges with clemency and governs with leniency.”
So God governs with leniency; how are we governed?
We have the whole establishment in Washington
and our state and local governments that work to rule us.
Supposedly their job is to try to keep us on the path
that will be for our benefit here on earth.
Often I have trouble seeing how all of the politics is for our benefit.
We might stop right here and ask:
Is it God who really governs what we do?
I know that our governor has said that we must wear masks,
and I hope that his motives are driven
by what he sees as our ultimate benefit, as our safety.
But do we consider that God also tells us
that we must do everything we can
to keep our brothers and sisters safe?
The reading goes on to say that
God teaches that those who are just must be kind.
Certainly God in His teaching role must be patient
with us who are so slow to learn.
Last week we heard the parable of the person sowing seeds
on different types of soil.
Jesus explained the parable as the seed of faith
sown in the hearts of persons with different dispositions
for that faith to grow in their hearts.
Immediately after that in Matthew’s Gospel,
Jesus tells the parable we heard today.
It’s again about sowing seed but a different situation;
all of the good seed is sown in good soil, where it can grow.
This would represent those who receive the gift of faith
from God the “sower”
and are in the process of growing in that faith.
That would represent us.
The enemy then sowed weed seed among the good seed.
The weed seeds certainly must have looked to be harmless
at the beginning.
Eventually the weed seedlings could be distinguished
from the good ones.
The devil has sown evil within the world, we exist with it
and we learn to identify it.
The servants wanted to pull up the weeds,
but the householder told the servants to be patient.
They were to let the good plants develop among the weeds
and to separate them
when they were easily distinguished at the harvest.
There was the fear that puling the weeds
would result in pulling up the good plants as well.
Again we hear of God’s patience.
He wants our faith to mature and be strengthened
for we will tested by the evil, the weeds of the world.
God knows that there will be times in our lives
when our faith in Him may be weakened.
He wants to give us time to work all of that out,
to be fully grounded in our faith.
THE Good News IS that God is very patient with us.
He has all of the power and might to punish us when we sin.
In fact, He has the power to keep us from evil,
He could pull the weeds out of our lives,
but he wants US to make the decision against evil,
to choose good, to have our faith strengthened
as we deal with the obstacles that come into our lives.
And if we fail, he is always patiently there
to accept our sorrow, to grant our request for forgiveness.
God will never get fed up with us; He will never give up on us.
That is why He sent His Son.
God’s patience is very Good News for us!
It then follows that for us to be more God-like,
we must be patient, use this fruit of the Holy Spirit.
***A preacher tells the following story about himself:
“Three minutes had elapsed
since I had taken my seat at the lunch counter,
Waitresses passed me by;
two cooks and a bus boy took no notice of my presence.
My ego was soothed only because
the truck driver seated next to me was ignored as well.
‘Maybe this counter is off limits,’ I said to him.
‘Maybe they are short of help,’ he responded
‘Maybe they don’t want our business,’ I said.
‘Maybe they are taking care of those at the tables,’
was his reply.
The hands on the clock continued to move.
‘Maybe they don’t like us,’ I insisted.
‘The air conditioning feels so good, I don’t mind waiting,’ he said.
At this point a harried waitress stopped to tell us
that the water had been shut off and there was no way to wash dishes.
The nameless truck driver just smiled at me,
thanked the waitress and left."
The preacher then realized that the truck driver was practicing
what, he, the preacher had been preaching.
Do we deal with others with patience?
Do we make time and space for the other side of the story?
Are we always upset when someone is late?
Are we discouraged when we or someone else
keeps making the same mistake over and over?
We are all called to be patient with others.
And what about our patience with God?
****A speedboat driver described
what had happened to him in an accident.
He was racing when, in a turn, his speed and a wave combined
to flip his boat upside down in the air
and he was thrown down deep into the water -
so deep that he did not know
which direction was toward the surface.
He had to wait for the buoyancy of his life vest
to overcome the downward force and set him upright under the water.
Then he could swim to the surface.
Sometimes we find ourselves surrounded by confusing options,
so deeply immersed in our problems
that we do not know which way is up.
When this happens, we must just remain calm, have patience,
and wait for God’s gentle tug to pull us in the right direction.
Our “life vest” might be other Christians, Sacred Scripture,
or some other leading of the Holy Spirit.
But the key is to be patient with God;
recognize our dependency on Him and trust that He will guide us.
* Taken from “ 1001 More Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking” by Michael Hodgin Zondervan, Grans Rapids, MI, 1998, p 239
** Taken from “The Awesome Book of Heavenly Humor” by Bob Phillips, Harvest House , Eugene, OR 2003 p 145
**** Taken from “A World of Stories for Preachers and Teachers” by William Bausch, Twenty Third Publications, Mystic, CT 1998 p350
**** Taken from “750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers and Writers” from Craig Brian Larson and Leadership Journal Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI 2007 p 391