September 19, 2020 (readings)
- Saturday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
- Carey Boyzuck
When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another journeying to him, 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 trial. 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.
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of your word. I believe that this word is “living and effective” (Hebrews 4:12). Help it penetrate my heart, take root, and grow into a fruitful harvest for your glory.
1. Gifts of Knowledge and Understanding: Jesus spoke in parables because, although his disciples had been granted the gifts of knowledge and understanding, the rest of the people who gathered to hear him had not. Most people needed to hear the truths of the Gospel in parables to better understand Jesus’s meaning. He did not intend to hide the mysteries of God’s kingdom from the people; rather, he spoke to them using stories to which they could relate. We can pray to the Holy Spirit, asking him to grant us the gifts of knowledge and understanding so that the words of Scripture can deeply penetrate our minds. In this way, God cultivates the good soil of our hearts so that we can bear fruit.
2. Trampled, Parched, and Choked: Have you ever felt trampled, parched, and choked? Weighted down by sin? Parched for spiritual nourishment? Choked by distractions or anxieties? Most people have had these experiences from time to time and in different seasons of their lives. The answer to a weary, tired, trampled body, mind, or spirit is to rest in the Lord—to allow his healing presence to soak in and renew us. One of the best remedies for our soul-weariness is time spent in quiet contemplation before the tabernacle. “There is no doubt that a flood of graces will descend upon your family and the world if more souls would become pupils of the Eucharist” (St. John XXIII).
3. Rich Soil: Our Lord tells us, “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.” We can’t obtain the “rich soil” Jesus speaks of on our own. We do our part when we clear out the large boulders (habitual sins) through the sacrament of reconciliation, till the soil of our souls by making the sacrifices necessary to conform our lives to the Ten Commandments and the beatitudes, and fertilize and water the soil by regular meditation on the word. In the midst of our gardening, we rely on Jesus to empower us with generosity and perseverance. Only by his grace will we bear lasting fruit.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, when I have sinned, help me to repent and “create a clean heart in me” (Psalms 51:12). When I get distracted from my heavenly focus, please remind me of my upward calling (see Philippians 3:14). When I feel weary, please remind me that your “power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). When I am anxious, bless me with the grace to trust in you and rely not on my understanding (see Proverbs 3:5). Shepherd me beyond my failures and faults and use my experiences to cultivate good soil in my heart so that I can be your fruitful servant.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will set aside time to rest in you, before the tabernacle if possible, and cast aside all my cares, trusting in you and your providence.
For Further Reflection: Read this article from Catholic Exchange by Father Nicolas Grou, “Your Soul Finds Rest in God.”
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