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acornfieldI’m always interested in the various ways of using a word that cause different images to arise. This morning I was stopped by the gospel acclamation which preceded the text from Luke 16 about the rich man and Lazarus. The acclamation said: Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance.

There are many synonyms for the adjective generous that let us know we are not using the word “heart” in its physical sense, many of them related to money or time, the giving of which is more plentiful than expected. There is also the notion of kindness involved in the giving and far down in the long list of synonyms a surprising addition: the word “bumper” as in “a bumper crop.”

Instantly upon seeing that word I am flooded with images of fields of tasseled corn, standing tall in the sun, ready to be picked, providing food for many people or animals. Immediately I sense a lifting in my heart, as when the sun peeks over the mountain in the morning. I can even feel a bit of willingness to move out of myself in a way that might move toward a charitable act – like gleaning in that field for the poor, perhaps…

Who would have thought I could take one word that far? If I had time, what might I make of yielding a harvest through perseverance? A bumper crop, certainly…