First Reading: 1 Timothy 6:13-16
Beloved: I charge you before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession, to keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ that the blessed and only ruler will make manifest at the proper time, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, and whom no human being has seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal power. Amen.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 100:1B-2, 3, 4, 5
Come with joy into the presence of the Lord. Sing joyfully to the LORD all you lands; serve the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful song. Know that the LORD is God; he made us, his we are; his people, the flock he tends. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise; Give thanks to him; bless his name. For he is good: the LORD, whose kindness endures forever, and his faithfulness, to all generations.
Gospel: Luke 8:4-15
When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another journeying to Jesus, 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 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 temptation. 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.”
Like Myers-Briggs tests or other temperament quizzes, today's Gospel seems to offer us a unique kind of spiritual personality test. Which seed are you? Is your "spiritual personality" most like the seed of the Path, the Rocks, the Thorns, or Rich Soil?
Whenever I hear this Gospel my first thoughts are always quite self-righteous, "Yes, I'm definitely the Rich Soil. I totally do all those things." About half-way through that thought, the truth that I am really in the Thorny quadrant seems to be more accurate. It's so easy to swept up in anxiety. I am often choked by thorns of worry, the glitter of beautiful things, because who doesn't like comfort or riches? Although the pleasures of life are not always bad, they can definitely become a real distraction from hearing the Word of God.
What about the Path? How many times have I let the Word of God be taken away from me by evil or sin? It's so easy to become disillusioned and hardened by the experiences of sin and suffering. Life can be hard and not always such an easy path to tread. The Devil is real, and he is working hard to try to take away the seeds of faith that have been planted in our hearts.
Yes, I am also a member of the Rocky Ground camp. Jesus is awesome, and it's easy to be all about Jesus when everything is going great. But life sometimes becomes quite rough and rocky. In the midst of the real battle of temptation, I find that my faith in this "awesome God" is not always so strong or deeply rooted.
And yet, each one of us is called to be the Rich Soil. The seed of faith has been sown within us through Baptism and nourished by the sacraments. Tilled through our penance and personal sufferings, this seed is made fertile by the outpouring of the Spirit. We truly ARE the Rich Soil. We can leave behind that wrong path, those jarring rocks, and all the suffocating thorns of our lives. Jesus nurtures all the growth within us through His tender love and care. It is our job to persevere. Through perseverance, we will bear much fruit. Today let's be the Rich Soil. May we accept our true identity in Christ and remain in the rich soil of His love.
May we hear God's word, embrace it generously, and persevere in bearing much fruit.
Mary Catherine Craige is a lover of creativity and learning new things. When she is not guiding the development of young children through Montessori methods, you can find her behind her harp, taking an art class, or writing silly poems. You can find out more about her here.