Basic Information

Mass Location: St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, 2532 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Mass Time: Sunday 10 a.m. (check parish website bulletin for special feastdays which may be different)
Confessions: 9:00-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Monday, February 16, 2015

Homily - Sexagesima Sunday - February 8, 2015

2 Cor. 11:19:32 & 12:1-9; Lk. 8:4-15

As you may know, Wednesday, February 18th, is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.  Today, we celebrate the second of three pre-Lenten Sundays.  Last Sunday, Septuagesima Sunday, or approximately 70 days before Easter, the Gospel of the landowner who hired workers at the beginning of the day and the end of the day, each with the same daily wage, enabled us to realize that God gives us His all.  No matter when we have come to faith, when we turn to Him, He gives us the whole of the divine life.  Today, Sexagesima Sunday, 60 days before Easter, we reflect on our belief in the sufficiency of God’s grace, as St. Paul recounts in the Epistle.  He had a thorn in his side which he asked the Lord to take away, and the Lord said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you.”  And which is unfolded in the parable of today’s Gospel.

The meaning of this is unfolded in the parable of today’s Gospel, which the Lord Himself explains.  The seed is the Word of God, the Logos, the Lord Himself, Whom He gives us, the divine life.  It is salvation.  It is the kingdom of God.  The seed that falls on the pathway are like those who take lightly those who would deceive them.  The devil takes away the seeds, like the birds which eat them up.  Everyone has an idea, a plan, for a better world, but only our Lord can establish the kingdom.  The seed which falls on the rock are like those who fall easily into temptation.  They have no root, no moisture, and easily abandon faith.  The seed that falls among thorns are like those who undervalue the gift of faith, and become preoccupied with the goods and pleasures of this life, when our purpose in this life is to reach heaven.

The early church fathers help us.  They say there are really two kinds of people, those who give up, and those who, as the Lord says in the Gospel, persevere in patience.  Now, patience is something which many of us admit we have difficulty with, and yet the Gospel tells us what patience is and how to be patient.

Sometimes it is the small words which are so important and have such great meaning.  The opening words of the parable shed light on the meaning of our Lord’s birth and incarnation, cross and resurrection.  It says simply, “The sower went out to sow.”  The Lord is the sower.  He has come not to judge, not to destroy, but to plant the seeds of the kingdom of God.  And this He does lavishly, the seeds fall everywhere.  And when they do not grow, He sows again.  To be patient is to be vigilant for these moments of grace which the Lord sows in our lives.  And if one is missed, we must not give up, we must persevere in patience, because the Lord creates then another moment for which we should be always vigilant, and watchful, and ready to nurture the grace He gives us.

Secondly, we need the patience and the faith of the farmer.  He plants the seed, he goes out day after day and waters and tills, and does not see anything for a long time.  And yet he know that for all his efforts, something powerful and mysterious, and not his own, is happening beneath the surface.  And one day, all the growth shows.  Only God can give the growth, only He can build the kingdom.  We have our part to do, which is essential.  If the farmer did not tend the field, nothing would grow.  This we do faithfully certain that God will do His part and fulfill His work in us.

The Epistle gives us St. Paul for whom even against his weakness, God’s grace was sufficient.  Look what he accomplished.  Another example in our day is Blessed Junipero Serra, soon to be canonized a saint.  When he disembarked the ship from Mallorca to Veracruz, he was bitten on the foot by a scorpion, and the wound never healed.  Here is a man who was called to walk from Mexico to Monterey founding the missions, and, few people know it, but he limped every step of the way.  When his cause for beatification came up at the Vatican, they recognized him as a good man, a holy man, but they needed heroic virtue in order to proceed.  Fr. Vaughan, in Santa Barbara, the postulator of his cause, told them this story, and they said, “Yes, that is it, heroic virtue.”

Blessed Junipero may have many times wondered at the irony that he was to walk all that way with this wound, never understanding its meaning in his life.  His personal motto was, “Siempre Adelante,” always forward.  He was without a doubt a man of vision, but in many ways he was putting one foot in front of the other.  And look at all he accomplished.  And this is what we do.  Despite the challenges without and within, we do our best, we never give up, we always go forward, trusting in the sufficiency of God’s grace, and this is the stuff that saints are made of.