Wednesday, January 29, 2014
There is a difference between being busy and being fruitful
“He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. – St John
Gospel text (Mk 4,1-20):
Jesus began to teach by the lake, but such a large crowd gathered about him that He got into a boat and sat in it on the lake while the crowd stood on the shore. He taught them many things through stories or parables. In his teaching he said, «Listen! The sower went out to sow. As he sowed, some of the seed fell along a path and the birds came and ate it up. Some of the seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil; it sprang up immediately because it had no depth; but when the sun rose and burned it, it withered because it had no roots. Other seed fell among thornbushes and the thorns grew and choked it, so it didn't produce any grain. But some seed fell on good soil, grew and increased and yielded grain; some produced thirty times as much, others sixty and others one hundred times as much». And Jesus added, «Listen then, if you have ears».
When the crowd went away, some who were around him with the Twelve asked about the parables. He answered them, «The mystery of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But for those outside, everything comes in parables, so that the more they see, they don't perceive; the more they hear, they don't understand; otherwise they would be converted and pardoned».
Jesus said to them, «Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any of the parables? What the sower is sowing is the word. Those along the path where the seed fell are people who hear the word, but as soon as they do, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Other people receive the word like rocky ground. As soon as they hear the word, they accept it with joy, but they have no roots so it lasts only a little while. No sooner does trouble or persecution come because of the word, than they fall. Others receive the seed as among thorns. After they hear the word, they are caught up in the worries of this life, false hopes of riches and other desires. All these come in and choke the word so that finally it produces nothing. And there are others who receive the word as good soil. They hear the word, take it to heart and produce: some thirty, some sixty and some one hundred times as much».
Today’s gospel reading at Mass focuses on the soil rather than on the sower. This parable points out that a person’s heart, like soil, is capable of improvement and capable of bearing a good harvest.
We can relate the soil of our hearts to this parable and know that change can begin to take place in spite of the
1. hardness of our heart
2. the shallowness of our experience
3. the many thorns that choke out the God's message in our lives
Many people are glad to hear a good homily at Mass, they sincerely “hear” it and don’t turn their backs on it. Yet they don’t profit from it. Their lives are not changed by it. They are pleased but not changed. Why?
You can’t stay away from Church, daily prayer, and the Sacrements weeks or months at a time and expect to see the harvest spoken of here; 30, 60, 100 times as much as was sown. The soil of your heart can’t just be neglected and expected to automatically produce a good crop.
What is interesting if you look closing at the reading above is that the soil that produces only a small crop, Jesus still called good. The 30 fold small crop is OK as well as the 60 fold or 100 fold bumper crop.
Let us remember that the kingdom of God advances slowly with varied responses depending on the individual. What kind of soil are you today? Remember that soil can be cultivated, a bit of “Miracle- Grow” added, proper watering and with patience and change a crop can be produced. Most importantly, we must get rid of the things that choke off the fullness of life.
The Holy Spirit helps us but not without our personal cooperation, diligence is needed. If we half react, that is, if we halt at the “border” of the road without fully going in, we shall be easy prey and our “seed” will not bear any fruit.
Posted by Joe Reciniello at 6:05 AM