This week’s Sunday Gospel: Matthew 13:44–46
Jesus said to his disciples: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”
As we are now offering the Mass in the outside setting of the piazza in the morning and evening throughout the week, we are naturally exposed to the elements trying to figure out how we got here. We might as well be sitting in the middle of a field. In fact we are!
Hearing Confessions during the week while sitting in my designated place behind the church, hugging the shade, I noticed the rabbits scurrying up the hill, the lizards darting across the pathway and a battalion of ants marching across the confessional screen!
If you are sitting in the piazza during Mass, like me you will also hear the neighbor’s dog barking, the siren from a fire truck whizzing by, see birds perched on the roof catching flying insects in midair, and children playing with twigs and bits of bark or mulch. Yes, indeed. We are in a field - there is no escaping it! We may call it the “new” normal. But maybe, it is the real normal.
It is worth reflecting upon that our Christian faith and spirituality was not brewed inside a laboratory or produced from a classroom project. Nor is it the fruit of philosophical thinking pondered in an ivory tower. Our Faith, like a seed, has been planted into the raw and untidy soil of our human experience, where the weeds grow with the wheat. The Son of God was born in a field. Shepherds were the first to seek Him.
This language of a field is common to many of us. A field exercise is the place of testing of physical endurance for our marines. The battlefield is that place where we strategically and spiritually wrestle with vice and virtue. The field hospital is a passing oasis in a storm of conflict and confusion. The invisible field is that energy of unseen power permeating through the cosmos that holds all things together that we attempt to reach out to tap into and utilize. Our own field is that familiar place of our expertise we seldom like to venture outside of.
No matter what field we find ourselves in, Christ the gardener has planted a seed, a pearl of great price - His life, hidden in the undergrowth, buried in places unexpected, deeply rooted in the soil, often unnoticed and even walked over by the unsuspecting passersby as we hurry for cover inside buildings and fortifications. His life and presence is often right before our eyes and under our feet without us knowing.
As He reminds us in the Sunday Gospel for this week which we might describe as the “Hide and Seek God”, in order to discover this holy hidden treasure, we have to dig deep in a field we are often unfamiliar with. And when we do so at His prompting, and to then find in that secret place, it’s possible, without any sermon at Mass in the piazza, to see our whole landscape around us preach of His life, death and resurrection.
As Joseph Plunket, an Irish poet (and rebel) wrote one hundred years ago:
I see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of his eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.
I see his face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but his voice—and carven by his power
Rocks are his written words.
All pathways by his feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.
In grateful thanks to God for your sacrifices, patience and courage during these challenging times.
Father Cávana Wallace
Our parish young adults are teaming up with a group of young marines to distribute food to the vulnerable and homeless around Oceanside. Please consider, once again, bringing non-perishable and sealed food items, as well as bottled water, to the church if and when you visit. They can be placed inside the doors or at St. Joseph’s Altar. Thank you.
Present legal restrictions due to the pandemic do not allow any outside or inside gatherings on church grounds, except for “outside worship services” and with particular limitations. As we have already been offering online home religious education programs for children in the past, we will be sending out details soon regarding registration for the upcoming “academic year”.