17th Sunday after Pentecost-October 13, 2019
Our Gospel for today is well known, and we know that only the seed that falls on good soil will take root, grow, and yield a bountiful harvest. For some of us, that scenario in life is a daily occurrence- we live a life that is completely in line with the teachings of the Gospel. We pray, we fast, and we are generous to those in need, and we try to live a Christ centered life.
But What happens when we find ourselves caught in the rocks. How do we breathe, how do we go about our daily and often busy lives when we are being choked by the thorns in life- much like the parable where the sower threw seed and in landed in inhospitable environments? In other words, what must we do to simply survive in a world where everyone but me seems to be getting all the breaks?
Like any good gardener, we must carefully remove ourselves from the situation we find ourselves stuck in. We need to look around and ask ourselves-how did we get to this terrible place in life? What poor decisions did we make, what bad advice did we follow, and more importantly, how do we find the path back to the soil of salvation.
Being a good gardener takes planning, and in the parable of the sower, a good gardener makes sure the land is prepared in advance. Taking that analogy to our personal lives, we need to ask, how do we prepare for each day? What tasks do we engage in to live a more Christ centered life.
First, how often do we take time to pray. When we make up, what is the first task on our agenda? Do we pause and offer up a prayer, a brief prayer-perhaps, “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me a sinner, amen.” Do we sit quietly and make the sign of the cross in front of our icon, venerate it with a kiss, and ask Our Lord to protect us and those we love? Or, like many of us, is the first action of the new day one in which we offer worship to our electronic device such as our smart phone or tablet? Does our mind immediately become chocked by the thorns and rocks of a world that cares not for our soul, but for an agenda of nonsense, gossip, and slander that sets the tone for a day that seems to have little value or hope.
May I suggest that you place your electronic device in another room before you go to bed, and leave it there-that rocky and weedy soil that captures our minds and fills them with debris that chokes out the love and light of Christ. When our minds are overwhelmed by the agendas of others, we have no time for prayer, no time to thank Good for His Goodness, and most importantly, to listen, in the quiet moment of prayer, to the guidance and direction that He so desperately wants us to hear.
One small change in our life can have a profound affect on how we view those we love-family and friends, our neighbors, and yes those with whom we may disagree. “How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sister dwell together in unity.” So says King David in Psalm 138. How said that unity is so rare these days because we do not take the time to listen to the voice of God working in Cooperation with God the Son and God the Holy spirit encouraging us to keep our lives in the good soil. How can any of us spend time with God when we are slaves to our devices-perhaps the second greatest addiction facing 21st century humanity.