Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus is calling us to join Him in His work; what is amazing is to consider that He certainly does not need us to do so. The God who created all things from nothing is certainly capable of saving humanity without our help, yet He very much desires it. God is drawing us not merely into His friendship, but into His family, into the very life of the Trinity as sons and daughters. As St. John says, “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2) In carrying on the work of the Son, we become more and more like Him.

But this work will not always yield the results for which we hope. The seeds we try to plant can only take root in a heart that is open to loving God, and the fruit that such hearts bear is dependent upon the depth of that love. The Word of God is always meant to be fruitful; it is through the Word that all things come to be (John 1:3); Jesus is seed that falls to the ground and dies, rising to new life. (John 12:24)

Today’s Gospel is one of the best known parables of Jesus, and perhaps we’ve thought about our own faith lives according to the images Jesus gives us today. Are our hearts hard such that the Word does not take root? Are they shallow, such that the Word inspires us briefly but soon we fall back into our old ways? Are they overgrown with thorns, with distractions and other things in life to which we give too much of our hearts, such that there is no room for the Word to grow? Or are our hearts deep, full of love for God, focused on Him such that the Word takes deep root and bears much fruit?

We may find that our hearts are not always one way or the other; at times our hearts are fertile, with deep furrows ready to receive the Word. At other times they are full of weeds and thorns, or perhaps distraction has washed away much of our topsoil, leaving our hearts shallow. As Christians, however, “the mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted” to us; Jesus is not trying to hide anything. Hard or soft, open or closed, we belong to Him and He will never cease cultivating a deeper relationship with us.

When it comes to our mission the challenge for us, then, is to love others as He has loved us: to never cease trying to plant those seeds, never cease trying to plow up the soil of even the hardest hearts with our acts of love and mercy. It is difficult when we try and present the Gospel to others, to encourage those around us in their faith, and we meet resistance or we see no results. Remember, though, that we are merely sowers of the seed; it is God that provides the growth. (1 Cor. 3:7)

January 27th, 2016