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Saint Bride's RC Church, 21 Greenlees Road, Cambuslang, Glasgow G72 8JB

Recent Homilies

  • Ash Wednesday 2018

    If we listen to the old testament we find very much the prophets are very critical of the way people go about their religion. Their criticism is that the people say one thing and do another, the profe...
  • 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (2018)

    Recorded in history, there are 2 great period of the bubonic plague in 6th century and in 14th century. It is estimated that the first of these plagues carried off between 25-50 million people. In the...
  • 4th Sunday of Year B, 2018

    I am not sure if you know what Nutella is. It is an Italian hazelnut chocolate spread that, for those who like it find it absolutely delicious and irresistible. You can spread it on bread, or if you a...
  • 2nd Sunday of Year B - 2018

    On 13th January the whole Church celebrated the feast of St Kentigern, the patron saint of Glasgow. By tradition he is said to have died in 614 in the middle of a baptism that he was conducting. Like...
  • Christmas Day - 2017

    One of the things that I enjoy doing when I get time is reading encyclopaedias, a strange pursuit you might say. But one of the things when you read encyclopaedias is that you come across strange fact...
  • 4th Sunday of Advent - 2017

    On the fourth Sunday of Advent, the great passage of the annunciation is read to us before Christmas is celebrated. It’s a passage that is so familiar to most of us, we could almost repeat the words w...

If I had my way I would have this Gospel reading from St Matthew, the parable of the Sower, read more often at Church. The reason that I say this is that what we have just heard is something that is beautiful, the ideas, the words, the images and pictures it conveys, you could never grow tired of listening to it, its easy on the ears. But as well as being beautiful, lyrical and unforgettable,   it is also very profound and deeply unsettling – what we are hearing from it is stark questions addressed to ourselves  and hard challenges about how we receive God;s word into our lives.  

 

So, if you like religion to be cosy, comforting and easy, then you will not find it in this parable. If you like things unchallenging, then close your ears and look away. If you like life to be sweet smelling then you won’t find it here in these words.

 

What this parable is a dagger to the heart of the complacent. For those of those who like faith served weak with plenty of milk and three sugars, this won’t make easy reading or listening. 

 

The parable starts off in an easy enough way with a sower scattering widely and generously. If that is an image of God, then we can take some comfort in how God acts, open handed he scatters, he throws the seed wildly, foolishly and in every direction – he seems profligate. The emphasis is on his generosity. 

 

But the parable then moves quickly to what happens to the seed, the road that the seed takes. The images are tough: a stony path of unyielding soil that allows the birds to pick the seed off, rocky ground, a burning and scorching sun, prickly thorns that twist and choke and strangle the living daylights out of the seeds. 

 

All these images that tell of how the seed makes no head way, doesn’t grow, doesn’t bear fruit and doesn’t reach the harvest. 

 

The parable, however, finishes on a more optimistic note that some seed falls on rich soil and does something which is unexpected doesn’t just grow but yields an impossible 20, 30, 50 and 100 times more than what is expected of it. 

 

What does all this mean? If you look to the bible for answers then I would like to suggest to you it is instead full of questions more than it is of answers. 

 

The parable contrasts the generosity of God with the shallowness of the human heart. God scatters widely and generously but the response is not so generous. The gift of the seed it seems is easily stolen away,  it meets with no staying power, we are easily put off and succumb  to the worries, cares and concerns that we find in the world. The contrast between God’s generosity and the way the word is received is often a world apart.

 

The thing that makes this parable so distasteful, so hard to swallow, so difficult to listen to is because we realise that it is describing each of us, not somebody else, not someone we can point to, no one lese but ourselves.

 

The human heart that promises everything and yet disappoints. The human heart that is enthusiastic but doesn’t last, endure or persevere. The human heart that allows what is given generously by God to be to be stolen away. The human heart that is choked and strangled by the worries of the world, that is simply not strong enough. 

 

And yet maybe, just maybe there is in another thing in each of us, the potential that God sees in us to be rich soil, in which his word can take root and yield an incredible harvest, can transform our lives, lead us on the journey of faith and yield an incredible harvest of good in our souls

 

If you like faith not to be too challenging you won’t find it in this parable something that is easy to hear. If you like your religion like your tea watery and weak, then you won’t find what you hear to your liking. This is a tough parable.

 

 

The scriptures are often full of questions rather than answers.