Where Is God?

mustard seed/plant

11th Sunday In Ordinary Time

Fr. Mark Gatto

Preached: June  13, 2021

Churches closed for Mass, rainbow flag disputes, residential school tragedy, four Muslims killed in an act of hate.  We might be asking, is God at work in the world and church today?  If so, where?

In particular, it has been a difficult time for the Catholic Church, for us Catholics, particularly in Canada.  There are many reasons for discouragement, even for shame.  Many have wanted to speak to me about some of these issues and I sense the struggle of many.

We might be asking, is God at work in the world and church today?

For most of 2021 our churches have been closed due to a once in a life time world wide pandemic.  We have been unable to gather for the Eucharist on Sunday, something so central to our faith and our communion as the body of Christ.  Many of our parishioners who have never missed Sunday Mass in their entire life, have now been unable to come for months.

Where is God at work in this moment in history?

Second, in the past few weeks there were disputes and struggles over the flying of the rainbow flag at our Catholic schools.  Some boards have agreed to this and some boards have not.  Some people are very upset with the idea, others are very upset that it would not be allowed.

Where is God at work in this moment in history?

Third, we had the terrible news of the unmarked graves of children at the former Kamloops Residential School.  As a Church we were confronted with one of the really sad chapters in our history.  There is a certain shame that our Church could be involved in such a terrible system.

Where is God at work in this moment in history?

Fourth, a young man in an act of hate drove over a family of Muslims killing four of them.  All of Canada is faced with the reality of racism and prejudice within our country capable of instilling such hatred. Where is God at work in this moment in history?

Jesus uses the image of a man who scatters seed in the ground, then while he is sleeping, the seed sprouts and grows without his knowing how.  God is usually at work bringing new life while we are sleeping.  We often do not even recognize what God is doing in the world or the church.  It is happening in quiet and hidden ways.

Jesus also uses the image of the mustard seed, the smallest seed that eventually grows into a large shrub whose branches provide nests for birds.  God is often at work in the smallest, simplest way that we do not think is important.

The work of God in our world and church often goes unnoticed.  It is often in small and quiet ways that God is bringing change and healing.

So, what do we do in the midst of these challenging times for the Church and for us as Catholics?

Where do we find God at work in such situations?

Begin by a good self-examination.  In what ways can I be an instrument of God’s grace.  How can I join what God would want to be doing in this moment of time?

Begin by looking at our words.  How do I speak about other people?  How do I speak about other religions?  How do I speak about people who are different in any way?  Is my way of speaking leading to hatred or division?  Or is my way of speaking leading to peace and healing?

Is the way I speak reducing the dignity of others or is it leading to deeper recognition of the dignity of others?

We need to examine honestly the way that we see others.  Do we see other races, other religions, other cultures, other minorities in a way that reduces their humanity?

This is the challenge for the Church in this moment and so the challenge for each one of us as Catholics.

Where is God at work in this moment in history?

Look at yourself and honestly reflect if your words and actions would truly be in union with what God would want to be doing in this moment.

Does the way I see others, the way I speak of others increase their dignity and lead to peace?

God is at work even when we are sleeping, even when we do not see any signs of that work of God.  Even the smallest acts of goodness, the smallest words of kindness, are able to be like that smallest mustard seed bringing forth the kingdom of God in our midst.

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