Homily...Chinese Bamboo Trees

There are 4 Latin words that are written in stone over the doors of the old high school seminary chapel: “Spes Messis in Semine” which means “The Hope of the Harvest is in the Seed.” It means is that the Church would harvest good priests through the seed or seminary that prepares men for the priesthood (the Latin word for seed is “semine” which is where we get the word “seminary”). That latin phrase really applies to all of life: the potential for a fruitful life starts w/ the seed that is planted.

Jesus speaks about a mustard seed, a very tiny seed that grows into a very large shrub. But there is also another kind of seed that comes from China & it grows into the Chinese Bamboo Tree. It’s really unique because you plant this seed in the ground but during the first year, you won’t see it grow more than an inch above ground. n fact, over the course of 4 years the farmer takes care to water, fertilize & care for this little seed. But finally, in the 5th year after this seed was planted, does it sprouts…but then it grows up to 80 feet in just 6 weeks! It was discovered that during those first 4-5 years, it was growing underground, developing an elaborate root system that would be strong enough to support its growth & to give it a firm foundation.

Jesus knows how frustrating it can be for us to keep hoping & working toward something that just isn’t happening for us; we get discouraged; we seem to be doing all the right things but nothing happens. But the Lord is just building the foundation for us. Remember the farmer, Jesus says: “he goes to bed & gets up everyday while the seed sprouts & grows w/out his knowing how it happens” Be patient. Trust. The Lord is at work. We walk by faith, not by sight. There really is a harvest in the seed.