I have become absolutely convinced that most of us are inclined to ‘sell ourselves short’ by undervaluing the fruits of our discipleship and the strengths we have developed in our commitment to both Lord and Gospel. We seem to be more aware of our failures and shortcomings – and there is far too much ‘beating of our breasts. Again and again we return to that dreadful Catholic guilt complex.

Here there is no suggestion for us to develop what is often termed spiritual pride but, rather, a reminder that we really need to see that the ‘dividends’ we do enjoy only arise out of the ‘capital’ we have invested – and continue to invest! We are not all bad. There is a great deal of solid Christian goodness within all of us. If you disagree with this fact, then answer the question: ‘what on earth have you been doing all these years’?

COME ON! It cannot have been too difficult to have achieve a healthy bank balance!

There is an advantage in discerning (at regular intervals) the parables of our own lives

. These need to be studied, the secrets unravelled and understood. This is how we see what there is to be seen, and hear what there is to hear. Otherwise we end up being the righteous who longed to see and did not see it, and to hear but did not hear it.” What a tragedy this would be! [SEE TODAY’S GOSPEL: MATTHEW 13: 1 – 23]

We are saints already – saints in the process of evolving into greater saints!

If this is not true, then ask the question: ‘what has the Holy Spirit being doing all these years?’ No doubts there have been many times when the yield has only been thirtybut there has been a yield!

However, if we are honest with ourselves we must acknowledge that there have also been the times when the yield has been sixty and even a hundredfold. The occasional sense of real achievement is important because there is nothing like success to spur us on to even greater things. It is not for the first time that I allow Shakespeare to add his wisdom in words from

TWELFTH NIGHT: “some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. Once baptised we are all born great. In living out our baptisms we all achieve some form of greatness. Finally, there are times when greatness is, no doubt, thrust upon us.

If we reflect carefully on the first part of today’s Gospel, we should be able to see the truth and validity of what has been said. There have been times when the hoped for a yields have been nipped in the bud; other times when circumstances of our lives have devoured the seed within us, or thorns have choked us. However, from time to time the soil has been good, we have worked at it and produced much. We have to learn to know the secrets of the kingdom that are within us ….. to you it has been given to know.”

There is a wonderful lesson in the legend

{The Diamond in your Pocket by Gangaji} of a thief who stole only the most beautiful gems. He would hover around the most upmarket outlets and then follow a purchaser in order to pick his / her pocket. One day he followed a man on to a train departing for a long distance. The thief carefully followed the man around the train but never managed to locate the place where the diamond was. Eventually the man detrained and the pickpocket also got off. He was frustrated and eventually stopped the man and asked how he had hidden the diamond from him. The merchant replied that he had seen him loitering, suspected his motives and so hid the diamond where I thought you would be least likely to look for it – in your own pocket. Then, the merchant reached into the thief’s pocket and pulled out the diamond!

It is the same with us. Far too much time is spent looking – at everyone and everything else. We wonder (very often enviously) where the secret is. All the time, however, it is in our own pockets. Inside each one of us is the seed of greatness …. the seed of being a loyal, faithful, producing disciple:

where all that is most precious within us takes root. This is what we must learn to love and value in a way that is beyond anything we have ever consciously experienced. Perhaps, now, we will be better able to understand the often puzzling remark of Jesus recorded in our Gospel extract, that “to him who has will be given more, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” If we recognise what we have, we will be given more. If we fail to recognise what we have then eventually it all falls into disrepair.

We are reminded in

TODAY’S OLD TESTAMENT READING [ISAIAH 55: 10 -11] that the Lord gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater.”

This week it is left to the reader to ‘unravel’ the intermingled thread of the other scriptures.

However, recognise the good in you. Do not sell yourselves short. Build on this good – and make it even more loved and valuable.