I want to make a public confession: Some of the best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman who is the love of my life, though she’s someone else’s wife. But before you stray too far in thought, that woman was my mother, Priscilla. Compared to the soil on which the sower sowed the seed, Priscilla was not a path on which any drifter trod. She was not a rocky ground with little soil that’s baked by the sun, nor was she overgrown with thorns and brambles. She was, to the best I can describe, a rich soil that produced rich fruit. The challenge currently is for those fruits to multiply, accordingly.
Jesus implies by today’s parable that right inside our soul is located God’s garden. Our task is to cultivate this garden, manure and weed it. God offers us tools and implements to cultivate the garden, which are His holy Word in scripture and its authoritative interpretation and teachings by His Church, the witness of many courageous men and women—saints and martyrs who have lived the faith, and the living examples of good parents and teachers. Running counter to these are the rock-solid pessimism and skepticism of our decaying society, the thorn of moral indifference and relativism taught in our schools and orchestrated by the media, the violence and despair, the dullness and laziness that masks itself as recreation and entertainment.
It could be a daunting task in our day to cultivate a good soil for the word of God. Many starving of spiritual food are instead fed the junk of psychoanalysis, mind-altering medication or mere soothing motivational talks, preventing the required openness for the word to permeate its hearer. Hence, the “footpath” people dismiss it with no further effort to understand, so the seed is stolen by the devil. The “rocky-ground” ones close their minds and harden their heart with narrow views and ideological positions. Among them are some politicians and ideologues in the media and entertainment industry to whom modern culture presents a rock-solid stumbling block against the demands of the gospel. The “thorny” people are probably many of us who place work, anxiety of paying our bills and putting the next meal on the table, vacation, and other endeavors before the demands of the kingdom. The “good-soil” people are those who triumph over all tribulations, firm in their convictions.
Are you one of those who would love to hear God’s word only insofar as it doesn’t challenge you, expose the gulley in your life or demand that you change your ways? Are you one who wouldn’t want to hear anything that would achieve a groundbreaking but prefer to be entertained? Do you just want to be left as you are, even if you’re overgrown with weeds? If you are among the hearts that seek the Lord, say this prayer: “Lord, come and heal the pains in my life, and in our world. Let Your word penetrate the rock and thorns in my life. Reveal the good soil in me, that I may bear abundant fruit. Amen!”