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  • Writer's pictureJenny Snarski

In Collaboration with Creation

The seed that falls in the fertile field,

Under joy and showers, good fruit it will yield.

The Word goes forth from the mouth of God,

Returning not til its deigned path is trod.

Sufferings are nothing compared to future glory,

Creation awaits the revelation of God’s story.

As we groan for redemption, as each tills their life’s soil-

May our ears be open to his delight in our toils.

(If you’d like to receive weekly devotional poetry based on the mass’s daily readings, visit

Writing poetry from the daily readings is a practice I have begun this summer. While I’ll always experienced just how God’s Word truly is living with the same passage, year after year, bearing some new fruit, this new practice has exponentially increased the depth and reach of my prayer.

The poetic image from the first lines of the first reading- of rain and snow watering the earth and making it fertile- speaks to me of how consistently God’s grace works in every season. It also speaks of the purpose of grace- to invite us into collaboration with God’s work of creation.

Moving into the Psalm, we are faced with a paradox – something else very present in good poetry. We hear about the word going forth to do God’s will and the seed in good ground yielding the harvest – but what of the rocky ground in the Gospel? And what about bad seed? Droughts and downpours? There are so many circumstances that can affect the outcome for the harvest…

Reflecting on these passages and how they fit together, a phrase comes to mind: that God doesn’t need us in his omnipotence. I don’t disagree for a minute that God is all powerful, but in my experience he has wanted to need us… Maybe need isn’t the correct word, but he has at least left space and has desired our cooperation and engagement. Maybe somewhat like preparing for a holiday meal – I remember wanting to help as a kid and see the other side now as a parent with young children who just want to be involved. My tendency – “knowing better” and having more refined skills – can be to just want to do it myself because inevitably there is some extra mess to clean up or another element that doesn’t turn out quite like I imagined.

But what results is actually better – maybe not in perfection according to some standards, but in regards to fuller and richer shared experience, to memory making and guiding towards growth and carrying forward traditions and practices, more has been achieved through more taking part.

Maybe that’s something of what St. Paul alludes to in his letter to the Romans – the groaning and labor pains waiting for the glorious freedom… And maybe that’s why Jesus talks about the various types of ground where the seeds are sown.

What if we listened to this Gospel not trying to identify which type of ground we are? Rather, accepting that they are all found in all of us: trampled path, rocky ground, choking thorns and rich soil. From that understanding then we’re neither discouraged nor complacent but open to hearing the invitation – like the gardener himself or the mother working in the kitchen – to collaborate, to do what we can and to celebrate whatever fruits come.

When Jesus shares the Parable of the Talents, he does something similar as in this passage about bearing fruit from seeds. While he mentions the varying degrees of fruitfulness – 30, 60 and 100 fold – he doesn’t compare one as better than the other. With the talents, the only servant he scolds is the one who did nothing with it.

These readings can be a burst of encouragement, like fresh rain on dry, thirsty soil. Hopefully, our ears can be open to hear God’s voice alone. Above (or quieter than) any voices tempting us to comparisons or discouragement or feeling like we’re better off than another and just to hear his personal, unique invitation to the ways we can toil with him and bear beautiful fruit wherever we are.

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