26 July 2006: Wednesday of the 16th Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Joachim and Anne, Parents of the BVM
Matthew 13, 1-9: The Sower
The Gospel today tells us about a man who sows seeds in his field. A person who sows must not look for quick results. There is no rush in nature’s process of growth. It takes a long time before a mango seed becomes a full-grown tree; as life’s lessons germinates in the heart of persons. But often a word, a gesture, a value or a life principle sowed in a child’s heart lies dormant until someday it awakens like a seed in contact with water. Often, the awakening happens in time to save a person from going down the drain or from ruin itself. I once came across a sound advice for parents: “Sound travels slowly. Sometimes the things you say when your kids are teenagers don’t reach them till they’re in their forties.”
And like seeds, there is a process of growth that one respects. In a time of instants and quick results, we often end up impatient over kids and adolescents, doing things photo-finished or submitting projects half-baked. I remember the butterfly story from Zorba, the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.
“I remember one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the back of a tree just as a butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out. I waited awhile, but it was too long appearing and I was impatient. I bent over it and breathed on it to warm it. I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle began to happen before my eyes, faster than life. The case opened; the butterfly started slowly crawling out, and I shall never forget my horror when I saw how its wings were folded back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole trembling body to unfold them. Bending over it, I tried to help it with my breath, in vain. It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding of the wings should be a gradual process in the sun. Now it was too late. My breath had forced the butterfly to appear all crumpled, before its time. It struggled desperately and, a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand. That little body is, I do believe, the greatest weight I have on my conscience. For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the external rhythm.”
As we celebrate the Sts. Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we remember what it means to be parents or for to be in the business of parenting --- caring for students for example. Often parenting means to give work to children in order for them to know what life is all about. I remember a story of a father who made his boys to work in the rice fields while the other boys went swimming. His sister finally scolded the father saying, “Why do you make those boys work so hard? You don’t need all those rice.” The wise father replied, “Ate, I’m not raising rice. I’m raising boys.”