When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that ‘looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.’ “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away.
As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I am no gardener extraordinaire. With all the gardening, sowing, and reaping imagery this Saturday, I am reminded about how often I fall short and think about the things I do in my physical life that have no impact on my spiritual life. In my prayer, though, I am reminded that because God redeems all things, my physical and spiritual lives are interconnected.
In each of our very feeble endeavors, we are called to allow space for God to enter in and redeem it where we fall short. To let go of control, to find freedom, and to know that, while my hand might physically sow a seed, any fruitfulness is truly the work of God.
How are we practicing our spiritual lives by the way we live our physical lives? What do I need to let go of today to give the Spirit room to work with and in me?
—Emily Schumacher-Novak lives in Milwaukee, WI, and works in Jesuit Higher Education and Ignatian Spirituality.
God our Father,
you gave Robert Bellarmine
wisdom and goodness
to defend the faith of your Church.
By his prayers
may we always rejoice
in the profession of our faith.