Holy Family

Holy Family

Monday, July 30, 2012

Feast of Saint Peter Chrysologus

The mustard seed seemingly offers much potential for bearing a bountiful and wholesome harvest, but of course the outcome of any planting begins with where we plant it. In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks to us of God’s Kingdom being like that of a mustard seed or that of adding yeast to flour. Our faith works similarly. It begins from the smallest beginnings in us and it causes a transformation from within, and moves outward from us to others like the birds gathering in the branches of the mustard plant. The lesson we gather from this parable is that the outcome of our life’s harvest is ultimately determined by us and the choices we make, and too the choices we make impact others in the words and actions we choose. As in the parable in Matthew’s Gospel for today, the seed is planted but each of us will determine through the choices we make what the outcome of the harvest will be, and we likewise influence the choices of others in the words and actions we choose.

We likewise influence others by what we fail to say or do. We see this quite often in respect to various hot issues in today’s culture. How often do we hear ourselves or others say “I'm not saying I agree or disagree” thus avoiding being seen as taking a position on either side, lest we be perceived as being politically incorrect. This is why this whole homosexual “marriage” thing is gaining support, because people are reluctant to take a position. We especially see this among the young who are so easily influenced. Yet by not taking a position, not speaking out on matters which are clearly disordered, we lend support and normalcy to matters which are clearly wrong. Sometimes the strongest argument against Christianity comes from within the pews and from the pulpit.

Peter Kreeft notes in his writings on Fundamentals of the Faith: Essays in Christian Apologetics: “G. K. Chesterton once said that the only unanswerable argument against Christianity was Christians. (He meant bad and sad Christians.) Similarly, the only unanswerable argument for Christianity is Christians—saintly Christians. You can argue against Mother Teresa's theology if you are sceptical of mind, but you cannot argue against Mother Teresa unless you are hopelessly hard of heart.” 

For far too many Catholics today, being Catholic is what they are, not what they believe. And that is precisely what Jesus is driving at in today’s Gospel. As parents, as Church, we must plant the seed and we must nurture that seed so that they produce good fruit, fruit which reflects a living, meaningful relationship with God. This sometimes is at a cost, because the world is not always friendly toward being right. We see this in the life of St. Peter Chrysologus, whose life we honor today, and we see this in the lives of all the saints. To follow Jesus and to live a life which reflects His teachings comes at a cost. This is likewise clearly reflected in the simple words of faith offered by the owner of a fast food chicken place regarding the sacrament of marriage and the back lash he received from the media and liberal politicians. What cost are we willing to pay? Make a great day! 

Today we recall the good life, gifts, and work of Saint Peter Chrysologus.

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