St Thomas Aquinas, a sower in the Lord’s field


Homily for Jan. 28, Friday of the III week in OT, Memorial of St Thomas Aquinas
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On many occasions and in a variety of ways, Our Lord uses images of seeds and plants to explain truths about the Word of God and the Kingdom of God. Today’s Gospel reading offers us two such parables: comparing the Kingdom to a seed that a man plants, but which God makes grow; and comparing it to a tiny seed that grows into a large plant the size of a tree.

Although God is the one who makes the seed grow, people also play a role, planting the seed, fertilizing the soil, and irrigating the crop. The same happens in the Church; God is the one Who gives it life and makes it grow and take root in people’s hearts, but many people are also involved, in different ways. Saints are some of the more prominent workers in the Lord’s field. Some of them were missionaries, some contemplatives, some rulers, or workers, or parents, or any combination of these. And some were scholars. The saint we celebrate today, St Thomas Aquinas, was primarily a scholar, whose voluminous writings made a remarkable contribution of perennial value for philosophy and theology.

Although he was a genius, he was not vain or proud. He refused to accept the positions of power and wealth that his well-connected family tried to force on him; instead, he entered the Dominican order, with vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and become a teacher. He had a weight problem all his life, and because he was quiet and unassuming, his classmates when he was a young man gave him the nickname “the dumb ox”. His mentor, St Albert the Great, quipped that “all Europe will someday hear this dumb ox braying” – and he was right.

The writings of St Thomas – which fill entire bookshelves – have had a tremendous impact on all Catholic philosophy and theology, becoming a reference point for both those who agree and those who disagree with his ideas even until today. He penned profound and poetic prayers and hymns that are still in use. Yet, towards the end of his life he had a vision of the glory of God which impressed him so much, that he felt that all his writing was nothing more than straw. He left off his projects, and died soon after.

May St Thomas Aquinas help each one of us to use all our talents to serve God with humility, knowing that He is the origin of our gifts, and He will make the seeds we plant sprout and grow so that His Kingdom may flourish.

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About Matthew Green

I am a translator, origami artist/teacher, and photographer, a blogger, former philosophy professor, and I love to sing. You can see my photos on Flickr and buy prints of some of them on Fine Art America. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter (@mehjg), and in various and sundry other social media sites on the web.
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