Homily January 27th, 2023

Friday of the Third Week of Ordinary Time – Odd years – Mk 4:26-34

Today’s well-known Gospel passage continues the series of parables about faith. However, if we look closely, there are four short words that Jesus uses that give us a profound insight into the way God works. When describing the man who sows, Jesus says that the growth takes place, but “he knows not how.” “He knows not how.” The Greek word for “knows,” οἶδεν (oiden), literally refers to sight. The man doesn’t physically see the growth. However, since seeing leads to knowledge, it’s often used metaphorically, like when we say, “I see what you are saying,” or, “I see what you mean.” It’s a seeing that becomes knowing, “a gateway to grasp spiritual truth from a physical plane.”[1] The man who sows has no idea how that growth takes place; it just does, and it remains a mystery for him. Likewise, when God’s will is being fulfilled, oftentimes we aren’t aware of it. We don’t see it, especially in a world that has many problems, or in our lives that have many problems, and we certainly don’t understand it, but through faith we know that God is at work, even in the midst of all the difficulties and problems of the world.

Today’s first reading expresses this point beautifully. Paul is recalling to the Hebrews the sufferings that they have endured, and yet, their reaction was one of joy: “Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering. At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction; at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated. You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, knowing that you had a better and lasting possession.” However, he warns them: “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense. You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.” “Do not throw away your confidence”: trust in your God, who has seen you through so many difficulties, and will continue to aid you. He has not abandoned you yet, and He will not. It is hard to continue trusting when things aren’t clear, but God is always faithful, and will not let our sacrifices go unrewarded.

In our lives, then, let us cultivate this attitude of uniformity with God’s will. As Saint Alphonsus Liguori wrote, “God wills only our good; God loves us more than anybody else can or does love us. His will is that no one should lose his soul, that everyone should save and sanctify his soul. . . .  Let us place ourselves unreservedly in His hands because He will not fail to have care of us: Our Lord said to St. Catherine of Siena, ‘Daughter, think of me, and I will always think of you.’”

Today, let us pray, through the intercession of Mary, who is “the most perfect of all the saints because she most perfectly embraced the divine will,” for the grace at conform our wills to God’s, knowing that, even if we don’t see or understand, He who sees and knows all things, guides all things to work for our good.

[1] Strong’s Concordance, 1492.



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