Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Farmers' Way of Looking at Life

The farmers' way of looking at life is different than dwellers of our cities. With this as his subject matter, a priest writing in the Seoul Diocesan Bulletin, reflects on the Sunday Gospel and Doubting Thomas.

He recounts the story of a woman reporter for a TV program that went out with a crew of fishermen for squid. The fishermen worked  hard but caught only 10 squids. The reporter was disappointed,  after all the work, and her pictures, they were going back to land with a very poor catch. The fishermen made light of what happened with laughter, and tried to console the reporter saying that what happened is not uncommon. At times, they don't make enough to pay for the gas they use. However, tomorrow will be a new day, and we have hopes of a good catch: the fishermen's way of consoling the reporter.

Those who go out to fish or seed their fields are reckless, he says, they are dealing with uncertainty. Farming has advanced greatly with scientific methods, as has fishing with their ability to discover schools of fish, but despite it all, they have to hope in an uncertain future. Hope is always a part of their lives. For a believer, it is not my will but the will of God that is part of their thinking.

Those in the city, as the saying goes, even the stone bridge has to be touched to determine if it is reliable. Without that certainty, they are reluctant to spend their money or time. However, the farmer is different; they have a hope and a trust in the future that their labor in planting the seed will see it sprout and give a yield of 100, and even a thousand fold. Isn't this the  heart of a farmer, the kind of heart that a religious person has?

We have the eyes to ascertain the facts with which we are faced in life. We also have the internal eye that allows us to believe in what can't be proved, but we can't help  but to believe, this is faith. To such a person the most important issue is not is it a fact or not, but whether to believe or not, to believe is to  trust. There are many who mix up what is  fact and and what is belief. They want proof for  everything. They want to see to believe.

This is a problem that requires deep thought. Necessary is the need to verify  our facts to determine if they are sufficient to elicit our approval. When it comes to belief we are required to give our trust to something we don't see, and it can be considered as reckless, and we are asked to  become adventurous and courageous.

Thomas asked for a certainty that comes with sight. Jesus answered: "Blest are they who have not seen and have believed"(John 20:29). We need to keep in mind the difference between fact and belief. Like the farmer, it is necessary to keep in focus the will of God more than our own wills; this is having the heart of a farmer. 

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