11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
2 Corinthians 5:6-10
June 14, 2015
Ezekiel serves as a prophet of God some six hundred years before the birth of Jesus. It is a time when the people have turned away from God. For this God has allowed their enemies from Babylon to defeat them. Many, Ezekiel among them, are taken away in exile to Babylon.
Israel had thought themselves to be a great people but they failed to recognize God as the source of their greatness. They fell away in faith. They realized the error of their ways while in exile but feared it was too late.
It was in their repentance from their sins that God speaks to them through Ezekiel. He tells them that He will “tear off a tender shoot and plant it on a high and lofty mountain.”
Most immediately this is fulfilled when God brings the Exile to an end and allows the Israelites to return home. Even for that they people would have to wait as the Exile lasted nearly seventy years but there is a deeper fulfillment.
When God set the Israelites free from the Babylonians and allowed the Israelites to return home, it was a simple “going back” to what was but the Kingdom of Israel was never restored to what it used to be.
Over five centuries later Jesus came to form a new covenant with the people. He comes to show us what it truly means to be a people of God.
500 or 600 years can seem like a long time to wait. Obviously, no one person can wait that long but we shouldn’t interpret it as God not doing anything for that time.
God is always at work for our salvation. God continued to send prophets and inspire people to a great faith. Through Him, God continues to plant seeds of faith.
Jesus offers us a parable about the farmer plants the seeds and waits. We like instant results but it isn’t always to be had. The farmer knew if he waited, the harvest will come.
We need to be working towards a harvest but not simply a harvest of regular grain or fruits. Our goal should be that at the end of the ages everyone is welcomed into the Heavenly kingdom.
I want to note that I said “working towards.” I did not say, we just wait for. In actuality the farmer did not just plant the seeds and wait. No, there was work to be done. There was work to be done between the planting and the harvest. The plants would need to be watered, fertilized, and weeding.
What work is there for us to do?
We need to be planting seeds of faith and to work to provide water and fertilizer for the seeds to grow. It’s the new evangelization.
This ‘New Evangelization’ as named by Pope Paul VI comes in two parts. When we hear the word “evangelization” we probably most often think of bringing the faith to people who are not in church. This is a very important part of the “New Evangelization” but it is not the only part.
The second part is to evangelize ourselves. Evangelization is not just about the people we don’t see in church. We need to be deepening our own faith, learning more about Jesus.
Our Evangelization Team plans ways like our Lenten Small Christian Communities and the presentation that Pat Meyer and I do to help us grow in our individual faith with the hope that in turn, you will then share what you have learned with others.
You see, evangelization is not just the work of a committee or the priests. It is a work that we all have a share in, although in different ways to plant seeds of faith, to open hearts to Jesus. We open the door and then let Jesus finish the job.