The Word of God needs fertile ground where it can be planted. We come together as a parish symbolizing the People of God. The dynamic of Catholic Mass is that it is a conversation rooted in our ability to listen and respond worthily to God. But, if our worship here is not worthy, not celebrated purely in the Rites provided for us, it will fall lifeless and have no merit.
If our Catholic neighbors come together but refuse to understand or even know each other in the marketplace, they will misunderstand each other in the Church. If they come together and see no other point of view but their own, they will be unable to see the Common Good of the whole community. But if they come open to loving Christ and seek to listen for His conversation, even those who disagreed greatly can recieve His Word both in our weaknesses and in our strengths. Paul says, I will boast in my weaknesses in order that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
If we can pay attention to the words of the Confiteor: “I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.”
Can you hear what you have said? Admitting that you have greatly sinned, yet you gather here together, as a parish, to sacrifice all our strengths and weaknesses to God on this Altar. Now, our hearts lay open and fertile!
From this Altar then comes the Word of God spoken, and there will be good listeners to hear and proclaim.
Saint Paul gives it to us straight when he says ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ Our call to holiness is work: it is planting and nurturing and harvesting-all at the same time and all within its own time. But it is all Christ’s work that we do together; in family, among neighbors as a parish. Therefore we should grow ‘content(ed) with weakness, insults, hardships persecutions and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when (we are) weak, then (we are) strong!”
You and I have a tremendous job to do, either we hinder or help the work of the Lord, in the vineyard of our neighborhoods, of our parish and of our homes. We can with confidence open the door wide to Him and do his work, we can listen to His Word and elevate our spirits, we can be pure in our worship and worthy in our reception.
Filled with this confidence we share at this Mass, we affirm what Ezekiel said to us: “As the Lord spoke to me, and set me on my feet. I heard the One who was speaking say: Son of man, I am sending you forth!” We can leave here today with hope that our imperfect response to His Presence will always be ‘yes,’ and our hearts laid bare, will be fertile ground for His planting. “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord!”