By Sister Lauretta
Jesus turned to those following him and asked “What are you looking for?” Picture Jesus standing in front of you and asking that same question. How would you respond, or could you even respond at all? How many requests immediately would come to your mind? Would you ask for a miracle or an answer to a particular problem or concern? Anthony De Mello, S.J. tells a story in Free Flight about a woman who dreamed that Jesus was a salesperson in a marketplace. When she asked him what he sold, Jesus told her that she could have anything her heart desired. She excitedly requested things like freedom from fear, peace of mind and heart, and the end of pain and struggle in her life. Jesus responded, “Oh, no, you’ve got me wrong. We don’t sell fruits here, only seeds.”
What does it mean to be given only seeds, you ask? Think about it. How often we want God to zap away every difficult thing from our lives. But, rather, God gives us “seeds” like wisdom, courage and faith so that we can plant, grow and mature through the events of our lives. Jesus used the seed metaphor in several of his parables to teach us a lesson. One of the parables that is familiar to us is the Sower who went out to sow seeds. Jesus presents himself as a Sower who wants to sow his word in our hearts. He came to sow himself as the seed of life for us and to teach us that we, also, must impart seeds into others. We all have seeds given to us by God that are waiting to be “planted” in our own lives and in the lives of our brothers and sisters. Robert Louis Stevenson is quoted as having said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.” We are called, as someone wrote, to “plant Christ into our brothers and sisters.” If the seed falls on good soil and it is accepted, it grows and produces a hundredfold. With each day we never know what we do in life that leaves a seed behind that grows into an oak tree in someone’s life. An ordinary favor we do for someone may seem to be going nowhere at first, but maybe we’re planting a seed we can’t see immediately. We do the best we can and then trust in an unfolding that we can neither design nor ordain. The fact that we can plant a seed for another person and it has the potential to become so valuable is a spiritual blessing.
The late speaker and writer, Leo Buscaglia, in addressing an assembly, asked the question: “Want to change the world?” He then pointed out that too often we don’t act because we feel we have to do big things. “Try planting small seeds” he suggests, “and God will make them grow. The power of the smallest deed has the potential to turn a life around.” He offers another encouraging thought. “It’s no accident where we are in our daily lives or who we are with. God knows who needs love, encouragement at that moment. The circumstances of our lives are in God’s plan.” So, as we go about planting seeds in others’ lives perhaps they will begin to see, feel or recognize God’s love and presence through these seeds.
Give some thought to the words of Pope Francis: “Although the life of a person is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed you plant can grow in them. You have to trust in the Lord.”