God Desires Our Cooperation

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The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr John Seland SVD (Japan)

Tuesday 30th Week in Ordinary Time

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons, Creation of Man by Michaelangelo

Throughout the Bible, great emphasis is given on the importance of bearing fruit in our lives. In Psalm 1:3, for instance, we read: “ Blessed is the man [who holds] the law of the Lord [as] his joy . . . He is like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its fruit in season; its leaves never wither; whatever he does prospers” (vv. 1, 2-3). Many more passages in the New Testament carry the same theme; today’s reading from Luke is one example.

Jesus speaks about the growth of the mustard seed, presuming, of course, that God is the creator of that seed. However, the growth of the seed requires human effort and cooperation. Thus the man in the parable takes the seed and plants it in his garden. Then the seed begins to mature, eventually becoming a shrub, so large and robust that birds are able to come and nest in its branches. The parable about the yeast has the same point. The combination of God’s gift of yeast and the woman’s efforts bear fruit in the form of freshly-baked bread.

The lesson is quite obvious. God is the creator of the seed as well as the yeast, giving such things an innate power to grow. However, God also desires our cooperation. Just as it is in the parable about the ten talents, Jesus teaches us that the harder we work and cooperate with the graces God gives us, the more we profit. One of the profits comes in the form of the joy and satisfaction we feel in having accomplished some task. But not only that, the more we grow and mature, the more we give glory to God, who blesses us continuously by providing us with His graces and favors.

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