Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Again Jesus began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around Him that He got into a fishing boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land.  He began to teach them many things in parables, and in His teaching He said to them: “Listen! 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 did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil.  And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away.  Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”  And then Jesus added, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” – Mark 4:1-9

Through the metaphor of a farmer broadcasting the seed, Christ explains (at least in my mind) how so often the hoped-for Beauty of the Good News fails to mature.

By its nature, evangelism, the casting of hopeful seeds of a bountiful harvest of grace and mercy is sown widely, much like the seeds of the dandelion are carried off by the wind.  Some of those hopeful seeds will end up on the well-worn path; others, the thorny patches, others; the barren, scorched places; yet, thankfully some seed will take hole in fertile fields.

thorns and wheatToday, I contemplate those thorny patches, possibly by extension of the metaphor, those thorny people, in which the thorns outgrow the hopeful seeds and choke to death the deeper hope waiting to mature.

Christ explains the thorns in this way … “and others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word …”

The cares of the world … too quickly we identify those worldly ways to be ways we believe are a part of ourselves.  Christ identifies the lure of wealth as one.  He communicates though this is but one.  Possibly among those “other things” are such things as seeking power, seeking fame, seeking to control the thinking of others, seeking one’s own comfort while being indifferent to the critical needs of others.  Maybe among these “other things” is the allure of the brighter spotlight and the bigger stage, the allure of being a celebrity, the allure of being “greater” than others, the allure of pride and arrogance, the allure of being the all-knowing judge.

The problem with thorns is that they take for themselves the nutrients in the soil, and thus the wheat is slowly being starved to death.

Loved Ones, the ongoing process of self-examination, humble confession, and heartfelt repentance is actually a way of dealing with the thorns.

Always in Christ’s Service,

Fr. Charitas de la Cruz


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