Friday, 21 September 2012


If you wish to read the texts click here: 1 Corinthians 15:35-37.42-49; Lk 8:4-15

Fr Thomas Sitjar and his six fellow Jesuits and four Jesuit brothers became the Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War when they gave their lives for God in Gandia and Valencia, Spain between August 19 and December 29, 1936.
Fr Thomas Sitjar , the superior of the Gandia community was the first to die a week after the 1936 civil war broke out. He was born on March 21, 1866 in Genoa and entered the Jesuit novitiate at Veruela on July 21, 1880. He taught philosophy for eight years at the diocesan seminary in Montevideo, Uraguay after completing his philosophy at the Tortosa scholasticate. He again returned to Tortosa for theology and was ordained in 1900. He taught metaphysics to young Jesuits at Tortosa and later at Sarria for three years before he was appointed superior for five years at the residence at Terragona. Subsequently he was elevated to rector in Gandia in 1929.
When the Spanish revolutionary government suppressed the Society of Jesus in 1932, the Jesuits remained dispersed and lived in small apartments in the city. Fr Sitjar was living with Br Peter Gelabert and had refused to move in with friends, saying: “if they kill us, then it will be God’s will.” At 10.30 pm on July 25, 1936, a terrible banging was heard on Fr Sitjar’s door. He answered it, but only after Br Gelabert had escaped through a window. The captors pushed and beat Fr Sitjar and tried to rip his cassock off when he could not walk as quickly as them because of a bad leg. They then imprisoned him. The next day, Br Gelabert, Fr Constantine Carbonell and Br Raymond Grimaltos who were captured joined Fr Sitjar. The four Jesuits were allowed visitors and friends who brought them mattresses for sleeping and food for meals.
On August 17 and 18, they were taken before their accusers and were asked about their political views and party affiliation, to which Fr Sitjar merely answered: “We belong to God’s party.” Then on August 19, shortly after midnight, Fr Sitjar was told he was being set free. But instead of releasing him, he was taken together with two other gentlemen to the Albaida road near Palma de Gandia and executed beneath an olive tree at about 3.00 am. Fr Sitjar had a rosary in his hand when the bullet pierced his heart. He was seventy years old.
The text of today combines both the Parable of the Sower (8:5-8) and the allegory (8:11-15) {in an allegory, every element in the story is given a meaning. So, the seed is regarded as the word of God, those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved, and so on}. Though it is true that the Sower disappears from the scene after he is first mentioned, and the seed takes centre stage, the parable is really one of contrast between the beginning and the middle, and the end. Thus, the Sower (whom the end will affect) is still an important figure in the parable. Since many have confused the allegory with the Parable, the meaning of the parable may have been missed. In this reflection we will focus on the Parable.
The farmer would sow along “the path”, because according to research done on the agricultural practices in Palestine at the time of Jesus, the practice was to sow seeds first and then plough it into the ground. Sowing on “rocky ground” is not surprising because the underlying limestone, thinly covered with soil, barely showed above the surface until the ploughshare jarred against it. Sowing among “thorns” is also understandable, because this too will be ploughed up. Though the ploughing of the three kinds of soil above will be done, it will result in a loss, because in none of them will the seed grow. It will seem that seventy-five percent of the effort is lost. While most of the parable focuses on “sowing”, in the last verse it is already “harvest time”. The abnormal, exaggerated tripling, of the harvest’s yield (thirty, sixty, a hundredfold) symbolises the overflowing of divine fullness., surpassing all human measure and expectations (A tenfold harvest counted as a good harvest and a yield of seven and a half as an average one).To human eyes much of the labour seems futile and fruitless, resulting in repeated failure, but Jesus is full of joyful confidence; he knows that God has made a beginning, bringing with it o harvest of reward beyond all asking or conceiving. In spite of every failure and opposition, from hopeless beginnings, God brings forth the triumphant end, which he has promised.
1.         Do I usually focus more on the reaping than on the sowing? Do I focus more on the result than on the action? Do I focus more on the future than on the present?
2.         How do I react when most of my effort seems to be in vain? Do I throw up my hands in despair? Do I give up? Do I get despondent? Or do I carry on despite all odds? Do I continue to persevere? Do I keep on keeping on?
3.         How attached am I to the result of my action? Can I plunge into the din of battle and leave my heart at the feet of the Lord?  
5.         Do you sometimes act as the “General Manager of the Universe”? Will you resign from that position today?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the few questions posted at the end of this reflection. Truly , these needs to be meditated and answered. Thank you
    Best Wishes


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