I was asking my wife Judy if the recent BLOGS are getting a bit too heavy…too serious or somber, too demanding. She said, “ no, I think they’re fine ……. now what kind of bread do you want with your “bread & water dinner” tonight and do you want me to wash your “hair shirt”…. hmmmm, maybe she’s the wrong person to ask. Well, anyway, I’ll try to lighten things up a bit starting after this BLOG.
At mass today we had a familiar reading from Mark’s gospel on the parable of the sower. (Mark 4:1-20) When I hear it, I can tend to default to the best case scenario …… “just call me Mr. Rich Soil, or Mr. 30-60-100 Fold”
In truth, this is a very serious parable and it’s a battle to receive the word in rich soil. I believe the seed landing upon rocky ground is very prevalent today…. “they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; but having no root in themselves, they endure for a while; but when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.”(Mark 4:16-17) Today, you can feel the tribulation and even persecution arising because of being a Christian. There’s real pressure to fall away from God’s word to us.
The seed sown among thorns is also very prevalent …… “ the ones sown among thorns; they are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things,enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18-19) Wow, the cares of the world, desire for riches and other things … you can feel these temptations getting stronger. I need to have that new phone, go on that vacation, get that car, that house, save more money.
This is not a “theoretical parable” that only applied to the Galileans of 33AD. Jesus began the parable with “Hear this !” (Listen up!) Not paying attention to Jesus can have a very bad effect on us today.
So, how do we prepare “rich soil so we can truly receive God’s word and bear good fruit”? Well, we certainly need to pray and ask the Lord to help us. Lord, how do we guard against the cares and riches of the world entering in, always looking to get more. Certainly giving God his due thru tithing, giving alms, being generous, helping those in need…..I would think that will help us.
As to “preparing for tribulation because of the word”…. it seems that we need to fall more and more in love with Jesus everyday. The Lord needs to be first in our life, the treasure in the field, the pearl of great price….it’s certainly easier to undergo trials for someone we love.
Well, we can do this. We can prepare the rich soil…we can receive God’s word and allow it to bear fruit. Sure we need to be on guard and do some tilling and fertilizing, but we can do this. And every time we put God’s word into practice, it further enriches the soil and gets it ready to receive the next word. So Lord, please help us to do this, and “all will be well with my soul.”