September 23, 2017
by Jay Carney
Creighton University's Department of Theology
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest
Lectionary: 448

1 Timothy 6:13-16
Psalms 100:1b-2, 3, 4, 5
Luke 8:4-15

Praying Ordinary Time

Am I in the crowd, looking to “experience” a day with this rocking rabbi Jesus of Nazareth? In today’s world I might be taking a selfie with my friends at a stop along the Jesus tour, making sure to post this to Snapchat or Facebook so people will know that I WAS THERE. But nothing fundamentally changes in my life. Jesus is just part of my Timeline.

Am I a disciple? Now I am in the inner circle! But not so fast, Jesus says. What happens when your faith is put to the test, when you have to suffer for your witness to me? Will I stand strong…or fall away? Even more insidious are the thorns of life. My faith may not be put to the ultimate test, but I am regularly confronted by desires and worries about money, house, kids, work, sex, and politics. Choking on my own daily anxieties, I can easily lose sight of the master I claim to follow. 

Or am I a “man of God” (1 Tim 5:11), the title Paul gives to Timothy, the young bishop he is addressing in today’s first reading? I hope so! But what strikes me in both these passages is the time it takes to become a man or woman of God. Growing mature fruit is tough, as any gardener can attest. It takes sun, the right amount of rain, pruning, and most of all time. Both the “rocky soil” disciples and the “rich soil” disciples embrace the Word. But it’s the daily perseverance through good times and bad that separates the wheat from the chaff. May God keep tending to my own fickle soil, and may the fruit one day overflow.

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