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January 27, 2021

Mk 4: 1-20

Again he began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a 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 he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that

‘they may indeed look, but not perceive,

and may indeed listen, but not understand;

so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’”

And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 

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, and it yields nothing. And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

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.

Tending to the garden of our soul

When I read this Gospel passage, I want to raise my hand and proclaim, “I want to be the good soil!” as if auditioning for a part in a play.  Right now, with the recent political turmoil and an ongoing pandemic, my soil is a bit trodden down, and downright rocky in places. I’d rather not explore. But none of us need to stay in a barren place forever.  We can add fertilizer, such as reflecting on the psalms or sitting in contemplative prayer. We can work to remove the rocks, praying for insight and courage to look deeply at what’s embedded in our soil, or even just let things lie fallow for a while if our soil is too exhausted.  Asking God for help (it’s hard to do major garden work alone), and sharpening our prayer tools, we can “want and choose what better leads to the deepening of God’s life in me” (from St. Ignatius’s First Principle and Foundation).   St. Ignatius calls these feelings of difficulty in prayer desolation, but draw ever closer to Jesus the consoler, and know that consolation will return, and your soil will be renewed.

—Donna K. Becher, M.S., is an associate spiritual director at the West Virginia Institute for Spirituality in Charleston, West Virginia.  Her training is rooted in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

 

Prayer

Lord, guide me, teach me, strengthen me,
‘till I become such a person as thou would have me be;
pure and gentle,
truthful and high-minded,
brave and able,
courteous and generous,
dutiful and useful. Amen.

—Charles Kingsley


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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January 27, 2021

Mk 4: 1-20

Again he began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a 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 he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that

‘they may indeed look, but not perceive,

and may indeed listen, but not understand;

so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’”

And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 

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, and it yields nothing. And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

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.

Tending to the garden of our soul

When I read this Gospel passage, I want to raise my hand and proclaim, “I want to be the good soil!” as if auditioning for a part in a play.  Right now, with the recent political turmoil and an ongoing pandemic, my soil is a bit trodden down, and downright rocky in places. I’d rather not explore. But none of us need to stay in a barren place forever.  We can add fertilizer, such as reflecting on the psalms or sitting in contemplative prayer. We can work to remove the rocks, praying for insight and courage to look deeply at what’s embedded in our soil, or even just let things lie fallow for a while if our soil is too exhausted.  Asking God for help (it’s hard to do major garden work alone), and sharpening our prayer tools, we can “want and choose what better leads to the deepening of God’s life in me” (from St. Ignatius’s First Principle and Foundation).   St. Ignatius calls these feelings of difficulty in prayer desolation, but draw ever closer to Jesus the consoler, and know that consolation will return, and your soil will be renewed.

—Donna K. Becher, M.S., is an associate spiritual director at the West Virginia Institute for Spirituality in Charleston, West Virginia.  Her training is rooted in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

 

Prayer

Lord, guide me, teach me, strengthen me,
‘till I become such a person as thou would have me be;
pure and gentle,
truthful and high-minded,
brave and able,
courteous and generous,
dutiful and useful. Amen.

—Charles Kingsley


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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