When we talk about St. John Vianney (St. Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney), the patron saint of priests, three things come to mind. First, because of his witnessing he was able to convert the whole village of Ars, France. Second, his mortification which turned off the devil. Third, his service through long, long hours of hearing Confession.
Surely for someone to reach this stature in life, he must have gone through a lot in life. This is true even to this very day, when looking at the life of an accomplished person. When you hear his or her life story you realize that he or she was not spared from the many challenges in life. In fact, his or her share in the challenges in life is often bigger and more difficult than usual. Yet, he or she was able to BEAR FRUIT.
How then do we bear fruit in our calling, mission and purpose in life?
- (ONE) With the seed that fell on the path, the Gospel reminds us that not only one should know God, but we love Him. As Jesus told the rich young man, “You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul.” On the other hand, if we take away God in our society, look at what is happening. I think this is the first time that I have seen on TV a government glorifying infidelity and extra-marital affairs. It is one thing to sin and just be quiet about it and it is another thing to actually sin and brag about it. When God is gone, guess who takes over?
- (RENEWAL) With the seed that fell on the rocky ground, the Gospel reminds us that trials and tribulations are part of life. Yet, we are challenged to always hold on to God. What cannot break us will only make us stronger. Often when we pray we want instant action and relief. Remember though, God’s times, ways and wisdom are different yet He is never a second late. St. Teresa of Avila said it most accurately: “Do not fear, do not doubt; all is passing and fleeting. Only God is constant.”
- (GRATITUDE) With the seed that fell on the thorny bush, the Gospel reminds us that all things come to pass. Hence, hold on to what matters in life. A writer once commented that we are feeling the void of emptiness in life with material things that we will just leave behind. We came into this world with nothing, we leave this world with nothing. Hopefully this puts into perspective the place of money and the material in wealth. At the end of it all, we will give to the Lord an accounting on how we used these blessings.
The theme of today’s mass is One, Grateful parish as the center of Renewal following the footsteps of St. John Vianney. This can only be a reality if the Word of God, which is the SEED, continues to grow in each parishioner.