Daily Reflection
July 21st, 1999
by
Peggy Duffy, OSU
Student, Christian Spirituality Program
Exodus 16:1-5, 9-15
Psalm 78
Matthew 13:1-9

In todayís scripture readings we begin with the story of the quail and the manna where God takes the Israelites by surprise. In spite of their bitter complaining they are fed miraculously. They did not have to labor and then wait for the harvest. In the Gospel we hear the Parable of the Sower, the first in a long series of parables in Matthew. Here Jesus describes the natural growth of wheat or barley and the farmerís labor in bringing forth the harvest. Parables are something like a puzzle with their last line often catching us by surprise. Sometimes they make us uncomfortable and so we resist the depth of their meaning.

I recall the huge garden I was tending just a few years ago. It was the size of an Olympic swimming pool. After planting, weeding, and waiting in great anticipation the time for harvesting arrived. I was alone that Sunday afternoon and it was all I could do to pick the abundance of zucchini and beans. As I worked quietly I pictured myself as the seed falling on good soil that was accepting of Godís Word and bringing forth a great harvest. I thought of times when the seed fell on rocky soil and my mind was closed to Godís Word because of things like prejudice or fear of hearing the truth. Then there were the times when the seed of Godís Word was crowded out of my busy life so full of its many interests.

That day as I quietly paid attention to getting every bean under every leaf, I began to wonder what I was going to do with two hundred pounds of zucchini and more beans than an army could eat. As I lifted each leaf I recalled that perhaps I should be thinking about being the farmer rather than the seed. The farmer, unlike the Israelites in the desert, waits patiently for the harvest to come. The farmer knows that the harvest is always meant to feed others. S/he sows, waits, watches, and in due time, harvests the gifts, and shares them with others. And then the cycle begins again: sowing, waiting, watching, harvesting, and giving away.

As the sun began to move lower in the sky that Sunday afternoon I put the gifts of the harvest into brown bags and then drove into the city. I invited people to take what they needed. That day in the garden taught me that I cannot remain the seed that bears fruit. Eventually I must become the sower who gives away the gifts to others.

At each Eucharist that we celebrate we bring forth gifts that represent each of us. They are transformed into Jesus and given back to us so that we can give them away. In this way we become sowers of the Word and Eucharist for one another.

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