Wednesday, January 24, 2018

“If we allow the love of Christ to change our heart, then we can change the world.”

“The saints, too, had wandering minds. The saints, too, had constantly to recall their constantly wandering mind-child home. They became saints because they continued to go after the little wanderer, like the Good Shepherd.” ― Peter KreeftPrayer for Beginners

Gospel Text: (MK 4:1-20)
On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
"Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."
He added, "Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear."

And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
He answered them,
"The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that
they may look and see but not perceive,
and hear and listen but not understand,
in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven."

Jesus said to them, "Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold."

In the above parable Jesus stressed that the seed of God's word or message has to be received in fertile soil, in men and women with love of God and their fellow humans.

In order for God's word to grow, there is need to remove obstacles against its acceptance and growth: worldly enticements and allurements, lack of interest and doubts, lack of perseverance in the midst of difficulties and challenges, useless worries and concerns, living lives of fantasy rather than of reality.

These and other temptations will test the survival and growth of the seed that we receive. Human preparation to be fertile ground for the seed is needed: willingness to listen and pray, generosity to work for and with others, willingness to sacrifice for others as may be needed.  However, human efforts are not enough; eventually we need God's grace and help.

We can learn from the lives of saints and holy people how they have allowed the seed of God's word to grow and bear much fruit. Are we doing what must be done for us to bear fruit from hearing God's word to us? What prevents our bearing fruit for the fuller growth and spread of the Kingdom of God in us and in our time?

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