Daily Reflection – Sep 17, 2016
Saturday 17 September 2016
First Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:35-37, 42-49
I will walk in the presence of God, with the light of the living
Gospel Reading: Luke 8:4-15
Today’s Saint: St Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
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.
“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 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.”
They are the ones who . . . bear fruit through perseverance. (Luke 8:15)
We live in an age of seamless communication, where many have music or talk back in their ears. Yet it begs the question: are we ever able to stop, become quiet, and listen?
We need to slow down in order to have full use of our ears. Often times what we voice in conversation is based on the sorts of internal responses we give our mind’s ear to. So it is that our relationships are shaped by our capacity to listen.
In this context, listening to Jesus and his Good News poses a challenge. Today we hear the parable of the sower and wonder about a gardener who throws seeds seemingly without a care for where they land. What does he hear in the wind which helps him to trust?
Perseverance and consistency are also very important to our spiritual growth. We not only have to hear the word of God “with a generous and good heart,” but we have to persist in hearing it and then do what it says (Luke 8:15). The principle is the same in the natural world. No mighty tree grows overnight. To bear the fruit that Jesus wants, we need regular exposure to the sunlight of God’s word and the water of his Spirit. And we need to keep soaking it in.
Of course, if perseverance were easy, it wouldn’t be called perseverance! There are many days when we’d rather not pray or be charitable to our neighbor or offer forgiveness. We have a headache, we’re tired, or we just don’t feel like it. But think about other aspects of your life. You don’t always feel like going to work or paying your bills. But you do it because it’s important. How much more important is listening to the Lord and walking with him every day!
It may help to remember that we are no different from any of the saints. God rewarded them because they persevered, and he will do the same for us. If you prayed for only five minutes this morning, you still prayed. If you lost your temper yesterday, God will give you another chance to be patient today. If you failed to show affection to your spouse, you’ll get another opportunity. The key is to not give up. As one motivational speaker says, “Never stop starting over.” For God’s mercies are new every morning—and so are his opportunities (Lamentations 3:23).
“Lord, I give up trying to be perfect—but I won’t give up trying! I put my trust in your power to help me live a holy life and bear fruit for your kingdom.”