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Opinion

Sower - Seed

GOD’S WORD TODAY - Ruben M. Tanseco S.J. -

A woman despaired at the state of the world. She longed for love among her family and friends, peace among people, compassion for the poor and forgotten. But everywhere she looked, she saw nothing but turmoil, intolerance and hatred. She could not bear to watch or read the news, it all made her so depressed; the self-absorption and cynicism she encountered in others left her feeling alone and isolated.

One day she came upon a little shop. She walked in and was surprised to see Jesus behind the counter. Oh, it was Jesus all right — there was no question about it. The woman finally got up her nerve.

“Excuse me, are you Jesus?”

“I am.”

“Do you work here?”

“No, I own the store.”

“What do you sell here?”

“Just about anything you might want. Feel free to walk around. Make a list of anything you’re interested in and we’ll see what we can do for you.”

She was amazed at the contents on the shop’s many shelves. Jesus’ store was stocked with peace on earth, every kind of food to feed the hungry, clean air and water, warm clothing for the naked, forgiveness. The woman compiled a wish list of several pages.

When she finished going up and down the aisles, she returned to the counter and gave her long list to Jesus. Jesus skimmed the list and smiled. “No problem,” he said.

He then bent down behind the counter and ran his fingers through several boxes. He then stood up and laid out a series of small envelopes for the woman.

“What are these?” she asked.

“Seed packets,” Jesus replied. “This is a catalog store.”

“You mean I don’t get the finished product?”

“No,” Jesus said. “This is a place of dreams. You come and see what it looks like, and I give you the seeds. You go home and plant them and nurture them and help them grow and someone else reaps the benefits.”

“Oh,” the woman said.

She left the store without buying anything. (From Connections for July 2008).

Gentle reader, you and I are called by Christ to be both Sower and Seed, from today’s Gospel parable (Mt. 13: 1-23). You cannot be just the sower, sowing seeds here, there, and everywhere, period. In other words, you cannot just preach God’s word to anyone and everyone who cares to listen. You have to be the seed, too, and live by what you preach, selflessly giving your very life for others, thus bearing fruit thirtyfold, sixtyfold, a hundredfold. No less than a double-life. Sower and Seed. But it is the only life worth living.

As a Priest, I am called to preach the Word of God through sermons, retreats, talks, classes, and spiritual seminars. But unless I incarnate these seeds in my own person, life, relationships, and work, I would be nothing but a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal. For one, the spiritual skill of compassion or empathy that I keep teaching our counselors-in-training as the essence of therapy should be the very same compassion-in-action that I give those who come to me for counseling and healing. I should be both the sower and the fruitful seed of compassion in my work as a pastor.

In a similar way, every lay person who is a disciple of Christ must be both sower and seed. An integrated, wholistic approach to Christian discipleship. A current and inspiring example of this is the Gawad Kalinga (GK) program, which I have already referred to before. The leaders and moving spirits of GK are no less than both sowers and seeds in what they are doing for the poor. GK has spread, not only throughout the Philippines, but abroad as well.

Just recently, a Filipino migrant-musician from the USA literally offered his last song for his poor countrymen through GK. Last June 25, Rico Ortañez breathed his last at age 48, after suffering from stage 4 colon cancer. For the last two months of his life, Rico decided to stop his chemotherapy, so that he and his singer-wife Badette could perform at benefit concerts for their GK Agos Village in Sta. Rita, Pampanga. A part of Rico’s message before he passed away is worth quoting:

“This has been the happiest moment of my life. I realize now that God chose me to be his special messenger of hope. I am His instrument telling people that we need to help and love the poor. I wish I had more time left, but I leave it all up to God. I am just so happy to be given this opportunity.” (From The Phil. STAR, July 7, 2008).

What a loving way to go…

AGOS VILLAGE FROM CONNECTIONS JESUS SOWER AND SEED
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