We Grow Where We’re Planted; or, Don’t Blame the Soil


By Matthew Janeczko, OFM Cap.

“Capuchins grow where they are planted.”

– Father Bertin Roll

The image above gets it wrong.  Fr. Bertin had it right, not just for Capuchins, but for all of us. Listen to today’s Gospel*:

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

Jesus’ teaching does not suggest that the successful construction of a house is related the plot of land one has the fortune to own: sandy soil here, bedrock over there.

The tragedy of the collapsing house is not the result of poor surveillance of a particular area, but rather the failure of the builder to put trowel to ground long enough and with enough effort to reach the rock.

Plainly put: the houses built on rock and on sand might be built in the same exact location, their success or failure was based on how much time the builder spent digging to find a suitable rock on which to rest her house!

Given the booming successes of Sara’s and Ellen’s posts regarding weddings, and the more modest readership (let’s be honest, E and S blew me out of the water) of my post about the Church “speaking” to people earlier in the week, today’s Gospel provides us with an important perspective.

The ground on which to build a rebirth of the Church (and isn’t it always in need of rebirth in every age?) is definitely present.  The real trick is to never settle for sandy foundations.  These, of course, take many forms: the homily which forgets the Cross (thanks Facebook Commenter Todd for pointing that out), the parish which ignores the poor, the catechist who “because I said so,” and the list can go on and on.  My point here is to suggest that all of us are part of the problem, because we’ve all settled on sandy foundations in one part or another of our lives or ministries – and likely both.

Yet, at the same time, it isn’t a matter of moving on, moving past, or moving over the church, but rather returning again and again to the rock of the love of the Lord, made present by the Lord’s love for us, precisely in the person of Jesus, God’s Christ.

That’s a place to grow.  That’s where we’ve all been planted.

*A good friend of mine gave me a Gospel set of the Barclay Study Bibles as an ordination gift.  In just a few short days as a priest, I have come to appreciate their brief insights.  And so for this post, I need to give credit where credit is due.  And if his Wikipedia page is any indication, no, I not share Dr. Barclay’s skepticism of the Trinity. 




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