Wednesday, 23 July 2014

‘Other seeds fell on good soil
and brought forth grain’

‘Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain’ (Matthew 13: 8) … Cross in Hand Lane, in rural Staffordshire, near Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

Patrick Comerford

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin

23 July 2014

12.45: The Eucharist

Readings:
Jeremiah 1: 1, 4-10; Psalm 70; Matthew 13: 1-9.

May I speak to you in the name of + the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Last week, I said it is neither custom nor practice in Christ Church Cathedral to have a sermon, homily, or even a brief reflection at this mid-day Eucharist. And so I said I was going to be very brief and very short.

I shall be even briefer and even shorter today.

But I just want to refer briefly to today’s Gospel reading (Matthew 13: 1-9).

This is the first part of the Gospel reading we had ten days ago on the Fourth Sunday after Trinity [Sunday 13 July 2014, Matthew: 13: 1-9; 18-23].

We continued in a similar theme last Sunday with the parable of the wheat and the weeds [Sunday 20 July 2014, Matthew: 13: 24-30, 36-43], and the theme continues next Sunday with the stories of the mustard seed, the yeast, the treasure hidden in the field and so on [Sunday 27 July 2014, Matthew 13: 31-33, 44-52].

What is apparent in all of these parables is not so much the growth that results on each occasion, but the over-abundant and over-generous action of God. This abundant generosity is without discrimination ... to the point of seeming carelessness.

God scatters the seed on good soil and bad soil, on the pathway and on the rocky ground; God plants the wheat, and despite the efforts of others to subvert his plan by sowing the tares or weeds, and our misunderstanding of what he is doing in our wanting to destroy the bad crops and with it the good crops, the wheat still grows in abundance.

God plants the tiny mustard seed, yet the smallest of seeds becomes the greatest of shrubs and a tree.

Even at small, tiny, but faithful celebrations of the Daily Eucharist such as this, God is sowing tiny seeds whose growth you and I may never see, may never harvest. But it is never my plans that matter. I do not need to see the fruits of the harvest in generations to come.

Perhaps the welcome you receive today, the word you hear, the sacrament you receive, will bear fruit long after you have forgotten this priest or this place.

It is for me, in the words of the Prophet Jeremiah in our Old Testament reading, to go to all to whom God sends me, to speak whatever I am commanded to say, and to fear not.

When you leave this place, I hope the word of God is planted in your heart, and that the Sacrament you receive today nourishes and nurtures the growth of that seed.

And so, may all we think, say and do be to the praise, honour and glory of God, + Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church
is governed and sanctified:
Hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,
that in their vocation and ministry
they may serve you in holiness and truth
to the glory of your name;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Post Communion Prayer:

Holy and blessed God,
as you give us the body and blood of your Son,
guide us with your Holy Spirit,
that we may honour you not only with our lips
but also with our lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Canon Patrick Comerford is lecturer in Anglicanism, Liturgy and Church History, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. This reflection was shared at the mid-day Eucharist in the cathedral on 23 July 2014.

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