Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time (January 24, 2018): Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Thứ Ba, 23-01-2018 | 16:07:25

Today’s Readings:

2 Samuel 7:4-17
Ps 89:4-5, 27-30
Mark 4:1-20

USCCB Podcast of the Readings:

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark.

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.”

Good News Reflection: Finding God’s love in fertile soil

In today’s Psalm, the Lord says, “Forever I will maintain my love for my servant.” For you! Can you feel it? Do you believe it always, even when times are hard and he’s apparently not responding to your prayers?

Our reactions to life’s happenings reveal how much we truly believe that God loves us and cares about us in all things and no matter what. Let’s look at why this happens, using the different types of soils in our Gospel reading today.

Sometimes we listen to the truth only on the surface (the path), because we’ve been hardened by falsehoods. We hear the truth, but the winds of distraction or turmoil or false impressions blow it away. For example, we hear that God forgives us when we repent, but we have a hard time admitting our sins, because when we were children we didn’t understand the love behind the punishments that our parents meted out. Thus today we’d rather fool ourselves into thinking that a sin is not a sin in order to avoid what is really a wrong image of God the Father.

Sometimes we accept the truth joyfully, but we forget it when hit by hardships or persecution (the rocky ground). We feel God’s love only while life is easy. When the rocks stub our toes, we forget about God’s love and we try to deal with the problems our own way: We get rid of the person who’s hurting us, or we jump to solutions without praying for discernment, or we get angry with God instead of connecting our sufferings to the Cross of Christ.

Sometimes we listen only half-heartedly to the truth. We let worldliness, anxieties, cravings, etc., (the thorns) choke it off. We know about God’s love, but we neglect to quiet down long enough to bask in it. We get too busy with our own agendas, too busy solving problems, too busy rushing into decisions and the fulfillment of our desires. We fail to wait on God’s perfect timing and wisdom.

And sometimes we allow the truth to penetrate into the depths of our hearts (the rich soil), and it bears much fruit. Think about the richness of your soil. Notice what’s growing in your daily circumstances. What decisions and behaviors are producing God’s love and nourishing others? Here is where you truly believe that God loves you.

To let the truth sink in deeply, we have to dig out the falsehoods that we believe and we have to learn why they are false. We have to realize that every trouble can strengthen us and that we are closer to Christ when we embrace our crosses instead of dumping them in an elusive search for an easier life. We have to identify our worldliness, let it go, and keep our eyes on Jesus.

Today’s Prayer:

May Your Word, Lord, reach me, and may nothing from my flesh or from my daily walk prevent it from bearing the fruit You wait from me. Amen.

© 2018 by Terry A. Modica

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