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June 16th 2002
Catholic Homilies
June 16th 2002

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11th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Some think that Jesus told this parable of the harvest at harvest time, perhaps in response to a remark from one of his followers about the fields being ready for the harvest. It is altogether possible because while there was a chronic oversupply of labor during most of the year in the Palestine of those days, there was an equally chronic shortage of workers during the harvest season  when farmers had to get their crops out of the field before they either withered in the hot winds or were washed away by early rain and hail. The metaphor would fit the message of Jesus perfect: now is a time of great opportunity. Dependent as he is on human helpers, Jesus needs co-workers desperately. This could be a gospel story that suggests that we need more priests and nuns (and of course we do) but it also and more importantly suggests that we are all coworkers of Jesus and he needs the help of all of us in his harvest.

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Once upon a time there was a family which loved to garden, the mommy and the daddy and the two sons and the one daughter worked in the garden from the time the kids were little. They all enjoyed working together and shared pride in the beauty which resulted from their work (Well, this is only a story!). Everyone in their neighborhood admired the garden. The whole family was very proud of that admiration. The family that gardens together bears fruit together said the daddy who liked to mix metaphors. Then once summer, when all the Shakespeare movies were popular their city sponsored a Shakespeare garden contest, the first prize for which was five tickets for a trip to Stratford where Shakespeare grew up. The mommy and the daddy thought it was a wonderful idea. We'll certainly win the prize said the mommy. It's a better risk than the lottery said the daddy. Get real said the three kids who were not teens. No way we're going to win. No way we're going to work in the garden all summer. It's geeky. It's bad for my manicure said the daughter. REALLY! They all said together. Well, the mommy and the daddy went ahead anyhow because they still loved to garden. A lot of people in the neighborhood came over to help, but the three teens said they were all geeks. Anyway, you know what happened? Sure you do, they won first prize. Did the mommy and the daddy let the kids come to Stratford with them? WELL, they shouldn't have.

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