“Discontent, Weakness, and Growth” – Reflection for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 19, 2020

Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
Psalm 86
Romans 8:26-27
Mt 13:24-43

In every relationship we cherish, there is a pressing need to address the importance of being a better person. Of course, there are moments when we enjoy the company of those we truly care for. Yet, what often turns a relationship to a tumultuous path, and, in some cases, a painful end is the failure to become a better person for the other. The reality is that, we are bound to grow, change, and be better as we continue to make the most of our life. Married couples run into the need for growth out of love for the other person. Friendships run into the same necessity as we go through changes in our own lives. Families deal with the same as mothers and fathers, parents and children, brothers and sisters move into different chapters of their lives. It is for this reason that we run into frustrations when others fail to grow and be better. There are many reasons and circumstances why others, even ourselves don’t become better as we hope they would be. We’re not bound to stay the way we are throughout our lives, and all of us are aware of that. Nevertheless, the fact remains: growth can be a painful and uncomfortable process. To grow and become a better person means letting go of our old habits and thinking patterns. For the old habits and thinking patterns are the weeds in our hearts that we constantly have to confront and take out, and that is not an easy and comfortable thing to do.

At some point in our lives we may have felt that we are not where we’re supposed to be, we are not we wanted to be. As we continue to reflect through that discontent, we find that there some things in our hearts we need to uproot. We may not even know what those things are and so our discontent become inexpressible groanings. Being just who we have been has become a burden and becoming the best we can be may have felt impossible. We become helpless as we drag ourselves into life day after day and, in that helplessness we may have felt alone.

But we are not alone.

As St. Paul reminds us in the second reading, the Spirit comes to aid of our weakness and helplessness, to help us identify what is it exactly we are groaning for. And it takes time to identify the things we groan for. It also takes time to have the strength to pursue those which we groan for. Our LORD today affirmed us not to worry and have the patience and gentleness with ourselves and others, for the harvest time will come at the right time. It will be the time when He will take care of everything. True growth takes places when we allow Him to be with us all throughout our lives, for Him to bring us to a new way of life, a new way of looking at things.

Perhaps that is the reason why we are gathered, why we are a church. It is so that we can walk together to be with the Lord and transform us into the best we can be according to our own uniqueness. We receive the sacrament of the Eucharist not so that we will be transformed instantly, but so that we remain with the Lord as He continues to be present in our lives. When He is truly present in our lives, every journey becomes meaningful and every experience we go through becomes sacred, even if it is discontent, frustrations, or weakness. They become sacred in that they become sources of encounter with the Lord.

Through the Lord, we receive the understanding to make sense of our weaknesses and groanings. Most importantly, we receive the strength to let go of the things that hold us back in our lives to become the best we can be – to become the largest of plants out of that small mustard seed. Our growth, then, becomes a living testimony that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

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