Saturday, September 23, 2017

You aren’t going to find anybody that’s going to be successful without making a sacrifice and without perseverance.

The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it. - Vince Lombardi: (1913  0 1970: was an American football player, coach, and executive in the National Football League (NFL). He is best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers during the 1960s.)

Gospel Text: (LK 8:4-15)
When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another
journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable.
"A sower went out to sow his seed.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled,
and the birds of the sky ate it up.
Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew,
it withered for lack of moisture.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew with it and choked it.
And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew,
it produced fruit a hundredfold."
After saying this, he called out,
"Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear."

Then his disciples asked him
what the meaning of this parable might be.
He answered,
"Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God
has been granted to you;
but to the rest, they are made known through parables
so that they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.

"This is the meaning of the parable.
The seed is the word of God.
Those on the path are the ones who have heard,
but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts
that they may not believe and be saved.
Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear,
receive the word with joy, but they have no root;
they believe only for a time and fall away in time of temptation.
As for the seed that fell among thorns,
they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along,
they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life,
and they fail to produce mature fruit.
But as for the seed that fell on rich soil,
they are the ones who, when they have heard the word,
embrace it with a generous and good heart,
and bear fruit through perseverance."

Am I a disciple? Now I am in the inner circle! But not so fast, Jesus says. What happens when your faith is put to the test, when you have to suffer for your witness to me? Will I stand strong…or fall away? Even more insidious are the thorns of life. My faith may not be put to the ultimate test, but I am regularly confronted by desires and worries about money, house, kids, work, sex, and politics. Choking on my own daily anxieties, I can easily lose sight of the master I claim to follow. 

Or am I a “man of God” (1 Tim 5:11), the title Paul gives to Timothy, the young bishop he is addressing in today’s first reading? I hope so! But what strikes me in both these passages is the time it takes to become a man or woman of God. Growing mature fruit is tough, as any gardener can attest. It takes sun, the right amount of rain, pruning, and most of all time. Both the “rocky soil” disciples and the “rich soil” disciples embrace the Word. But it’s the daily perseverance through good times and bad that separates the wheat from the chaff. May God keep tending to my own fickle soil, and may the fruit one day overflow. 

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