July 16, 2017 – Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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PREPARING THE SOIL OF YOUR COMMUNITY

I work with traumatized people, youth in group homes that have been removed from their families, and adults in prison who have been removed from their communities. One thing is certain, isolating people is the opposite of healing people.

Trauma is a lack of consistency in your life—especially from those adults or systems that were “supposed” to be fair, but weren’t. Isolating people further only serves to increase the trauma and deepen the distrust of those already traumatized.

In these readings, we hear of God’s consistency. If we prepare the soil, the rain will fall and seeds will grow. If the soil is well-prepared, the seeds produce multiple fruits. A tomato plant doesn’t just produce a single tomato.

We have a part in this too, we have to prepare the soil of our lives for the richness of God’s blessing. Soil preparation can be creating an attitude of humility, wonder and gratitude. These are personal habits you can grow by practicing them daily.

Young people are a rich blessing to any community, but many communities are like the unprepared soil for these young people. There are many things a community can do to help build a climate of growth for their young people. There are many things YOU can do as a youth to enrich the culture of your community to make it healthier for other young people.

Create relationships between young people and older people in your community. There is a definite prejudice (pre-judgment) in many communities towards youth. Prejudice cannot withstand relationship. If you build relationships you can destroy prejudice. In our communities we create conversations between the older members of the community and youth—especially our troubled youth. It’s hard to dislike someone with whom you have a friendship.

Raise the level of courtesy in your community. Encourage young people to “go out of their way” to be kind to older people in their community.

Start an after school program in your school or church for pre-teens who seem to be living troubled lives. Provide board games, cooking classes, invite members of your community to come in and share their “stories” or career path. Community professionals who can teach mindfulness and relational skills. Provide homework help for kids struggling in school. It does’t have to be every day of the week, one day a week will do.

The most dangerous time to be a child in North America is the two hours after school has let out and before parents return home. This time could be rich in possibility for troubled pre-teens. This is when gangs target kids, it is when you could be offering healthy alternatives.

These are low to no-cost ways YOU could prepare the soil of your community to be ripe for planting young lives.

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