Fertile Soil for His Word

Matthew 13: 1-9
Jer 1: 1. 4-10 / Ps 71: 1-6, 15 and 17

Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.
(Matthew 13:9)

In faithful hearts will fruits abound,
But God’s Word will never take root
In hardened hearts like rocky ground
That remain oblivious to the truth.

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around Him that He got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13: 1-9)

Reflection

It’s very clear in the parable of today’s Gospel that not many people are receptive to the Word of God. The cacophony of buyers and sellers in the marketplace of life’s commerce simply drown out the Spirit’s call. Or the hearts of those who may hear have either been so hardened by life’s adversities, or simply intoxicated by the pleasures of the world that the Word of God has become meaningless, if not irrelevant to them. Who are the “good soil” in this Parable of the Sower? Those who seek the mystical beyond the confines of the material world, and understand that the spiritual life is more valuable than what this temporal life can offer. The author Gerald May, in his book “Will and Spirit”, said that “a genuinely spiritual life needs a spirit of willingness rather than an attitude of willfulness.” Willingness means being open and receptive to the work of the Holy Spirit in cultivating our moral values and character. Willfulness, on the other hand, is following our own desires, refusing the yoke of discipline and the prompting of conscience. “The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).

St. Paul also wrote to Timothy, “Train yourself for godliness; for while physical training has limited value, godliness is valuable in every respect, since it holds promise for the present life and for the future” (1 Tim. 4.7-8). How do we train ourselves to be spiritual, so that the Holy Spirit can cultivate us to become fertile ground for the seed of God’s Word? There are four ways: 1) By prayer, 2) By selfless service, 3) By being physically fit, and 4) By actively participating in a praying community.

Prayer is a powerful tool that weeds out vain and immoral thoughts and desires, because it focuses on the purity and love of God. All the saints lived a life of prayer. Most of them also dedicated their lives to serving God though others. Mother Teresa of Calcutta was the prime example of selfless service, and was loved and admired by millions throughout the world. St. Paul mentioned in his letter to Timothy that “physical training has limited value,” but only in comparison to spiritual training. We also need to be physically fit and healthy for serving the Lord, just as a stable building needs a strong foundation. We cannot hope to discipline ourselves spiritually if we cannot adopt a healthy and wholesome lifestyle. Finally, Joining a praying community like the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen & Professionals, Couples for Christ, BLD, etc. has many advantages than “going solo” in our life journey. We all need a community as our support group, because no man can stand alone against the power of evil forces. Jesus Himself said, “If two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there in their midst.” We all need to belong to a renewal community as our support group.

Dear God, make our life a fertile soil that can nurture the seeds (Your Word) that You plant therein. We know that we came from the soil, and to the soil we must eventually return. Until then, grant that our lives may reap the harvest of a hundredfold. Amen.

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