Friday, July 27, 2012

Why not go out on a limb?
Isn't that where the fruit is?

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.  – St Basil

(Gospel Text: Mt 13:18-23)
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Hear the parable of the sower.
The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the Kingdom
without understanding it,
and the Evil One comes and steals away
what was sown in his heart.
The seed sown on rocky ground
is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.
But he has no root and lasts only for a time.
When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
he immediately falls away.
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word,
but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word
and it bears no fruit.
But the seed sown on rich soil
is the one who hears the word and understands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold."

There is a lot of energy stored up in the natural world. For example, the most powerful atomic bomb ever detonated yielded the equivalent of 500 kilotons of TNT—this from a marble-sized quantity of plutonium. Nuclear fusion reactors, if they ever become a reality, could produce the equivalent of 300 gallons of gasoline from one gallon of seawater. And if someone could finally build the perfect car, a gallon of gasoline would power it for 400 miles.

There is a different kind of energy, however, that’s much more powerful. It’s the energy found within God’s word. Jesus compares it here to a single seed that is capable of bearing as much as 100 times the fruit you might normally expect. Of course, there is always the possibility that God’s word will be choked off by our anxieties, or die because we don’t give it room to grow. But Jesus remains optimistic. He knows that the potential in this seed is beyond our imagining!

When Jesus says that we can yield 100, 60, or 30-fold, he’s not talking about a mathematical formula. Working harder for God won’t necessarily make us “100-fold” people.

The return comes less from our hard work and more from the dedication of our hearts. Think of how much Jesus accomplished by offering his life to the Father. It went far beyond the hill of Calvary! So it is with us when we stay connected to Jesus. We find ourselves able to do “far more than all we ask or imagine” by his power at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).

Now as you read Jesus’ words about the good soil, you may be counting yourself out of that category. But Jesus is talking to you too!

If you are trying to seek the Lord, then you are that good soil. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see much progress. Just keep trying to follow the Holy Spirit. Ponder his voice in Scripture daily, live a Sacramental life (Eucharist and frequent Confession), establish a strong Prayer Life (Rosary and Adoration), and trust that he is leading you. Over time, and with the blessing of 20-20 hindsight, you’ll find that your life really is changing and bearing amazing fruit!

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