Daily Reflection
January 26th, 2001
Tom Purcell
Accounting Department
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Sts. Timothy and Titus
Second Timothy 1:1-8
Psalms 37:3-6, 23-24, 39-40
Mark 4:26-34

As I write this I have just returned from the Memorial Mass of the Resurrection for Fr. Neil Cahill, S.J..  Fr. Cahill was a Jesuit for 58 years, a priest for 44 years, and here at Creighton University for 38 years.  Many words were spoken about him last night at the wake and today at the mass.  Perhaps the most poignant, and the ones that most resonate for me with today's gospel, were those uttered by Fr. Schlegel in his homily - "the choices you make for living your life determine what kind of death you will have."  The gospel says today, "When the crop is ready he 'wields the sickle, for the time is ripe for harvest.'"

This thought of planting and growing and harvesting is a recurrent image in the gospel writers' works.  And in one sense I can understand the analogy - faith starts small and (hopefully) grows larger; we start our journey in small ways and grow and mature until harvest; the kingdom of God starts like a mustard seed yet grows into a giant living organism.

But it doesn't work for some questions - why are some "harvested" seemingly before their time or past their prime?  How does a "plant" actively affect its "growth?"  The man plants the seed, but it grows "without his knowing how it happens" and so outside his control.  How can he then insure that the plant will thrive?

I think the answers to these questions are beyond what Jesus was trying to say in today's parable.  He was talking about the kingdom in a macro sense (that's a technical economics term!) but the questions I posed are for the individual member of the kingdom.  And it is on that individual level that one sees the impact of choice and consequences.  The decisions we make in life do impact our habits of life, our ways of living, the person we are and are becoming.  At the time of harvest the plant ceases to grow.  So it is with us at the time of our harvest.  But we, unlike the plant, can determine how ripe we are at that time.  Our choices impact our ripeness, our growth, our maturity as a member of the kingdom of God.

And so, I pray for the strength to make better choices today than I did yesterday.

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