Homily ·Ordinary time
By Archbishop Gomez
Cathedral of the Our Lady of the Angels
June 17, 2018

My brothers and sisters in Christ,1

So, it is, as we all know, today is Father’s Day, so we especially pray for all our fathers and grandfathers. To be a father is a great vocation, a calling of service and love — a vocation that is essential in God’s plan for our world and for every child.

In a father’s love, his children see a reflection of the love that God our Father has for all his children. And this is so important in our world today, to promote that bond between fathers and their children and to strengthen marriage and the family.  

So today we also pray, especially, for the many fathers that are separated from their children, especially in recent weeks at the border of our country. Let’s pray for a change of heart from the authorities in our government. And let us pray that fathers and mothers be reunited with their children immediately.

It is a sad situation so I think we all need to be united in prayer, especially for that challenging situation in our country.

But, as I said, it is day of great joy as we pray for fathers and grandfathers and we see the importance of fathers in the family and in our society.

So, in the first reading of today’s Mass the prophet Ezekiel tells us how God will plant a tender shoot, just a tiny twig, in the ground on a tall mountain. And from this tiny seed, a great tree will grow. A majestic cedar.

The prophet Ezekiel says that the tree that will grow is so big that every kind of bird can come to live in it. And Jesus uese this same image in the Gospel today to talk about the Kingdom of God, the Church.

Jesus tells us today of the Kingdom of God:

It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.

A beautiful image. This is the image of the family of God — the Church; this is you and me. All of us.

Think of how the Church started. In the beginning, it was just the first disciples and Mary Our Blessed Mother — the Church was just a little mustard seed.

This is how the Church started, and from these small seeds it has grown and grown into a great “tree” with branches that extend to the ends of the earth.

And it is still growing. Every day the Church is growing. And in the shade of its branches, to use the image from the prophet Ezekiel, people from every nation and race and language can dwell in the Church.

And this is why Jesus tells two parables of the Kingdom of God today.

As we heard, Jesus also said the Kingdom is like a person who is scattering seed for the land.

As Jesus tells us, the person goes to work every day and goes to sleep at night and the seed he plants grows even though he does not know how it happens.

Again, a beautiful image of the mission of the Church. In a sense, the first image is about the Church, in general. The beauty of the family of God. And this other parable is about the mission of the Church, which we know is your mission and my mission.

This is a beautiful image of the mission of the Church which, as we know, is your mission and my mission.

Each of us is called to be that person who scatters seed on the land.

The “seed” is the Word of God. But that does not mean that we just repeat the words and teachings of Jesus. That’s important. But the “seed” that we are called to share in our world is our whole lives — the way we live and think and act because we are followers of Jesus Christ.

Like that person in the parable today, God sends out into the world every day that person to carry out a beautiful mission.

As I said, that’s our mission. And it happens in our daily lives, doing our ordinary duties — at home, at work. Everywhere, and in everything we do.

But we need to have that desire and making that reality — to be scattering the seeds of love and mercy, sharing our joy; the love of God that we know in our hearts.

And I think that person in the parable is meant to be an example to us. That’s the way we should be, because he was total trust in God. He does not know what happens to the seed he scatters. He does not how the seed will grow. But he trusts in God and he does his part. And he trusts also that God will do his part.

By dear brothers and sisters, this is what it means to have faith. In the second reading we heard from St. Paul:

We are always courageous …
for we walk by faith, not by sight.

This is how we need to live. And I’m sure that’s what we all are trying to do. With courage and hope. Walking by faith and not by sight. That man in the parable cannot see the seed growing. He cannot see if his work makes a difference, his actions make a difference.

We need to walk by faith and not by sight.

St. Ignatius of Loyola used to say: “Act as though everything depended on you, but in the knowledge that really everything depends on God.”

Trusting in God. Living our ordinary life with that desire of sharing with people the life and teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Doing things for the love of God and for the love of others. That’s what is going to make a difference in our world. And that’s our beautiful mission.

Just those little seeds that we are planting everywhere.

If we do our part, scattering the “seeds,” God will do the rest. He will cause his Kingdom to grow — into that great majestic tree that Jesus and the prophet Ezekiel talk about today. The Scriptures tell us: “It is God who gives the growth!”2

So, today, let us ask for that grace to grow in courage and trust — absolute trust — in God’s plan. He is still growing his Kingdom, even if we cannot “see” it, behind the scenes and beneath the surface — in our world and in our lives.3

And let us ask Mary our Blessed Mother Mary for her intercession. Let’s ask her to help us to walk by faith and have courage and to continue to scatter seeds of love that will grow in our hearts and in our world.  

1. Readings: Ezek. 17:22-24; Ps. 92:2-3, 13-16; 2 Cor. 5:6-10; Mark 4:26-34.
2. 1 Cor. 3:5-9.
3. John 5:17.
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