What's the condition of your soul?
24 , 2002
Reverend José H. Gomez
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver
"On that day,
Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large
crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them
at length in parables."
Jesus was teaching
about the kingdom of God and he did it through a parable.
Even the Apostles
were curious about the reason for using parables and asked why.
Jesus explained, "Because they look but do not see and hear but
do not listen or understand."
of the sower and the seed reaches us in modern urban society just
as it did his followers over 2,000 years ago. As we suffer through
this summer of drought -- whether in a small way through a lack
of water for our garden, or in a more serious way, fearing for our
own home or those of family and friends, or for the safety of firefighters
-- we can easily comprehend this parable.
We grasp the
importance of seed falling into good ground to bear fruit. We see
rocky ground, thorns and the lack of receptivity of people listening
to Jesus. The parable is a great way to teach the mysteries of the
kingdom of God in a simple manner. The seed is God's word; Christ
is the sower. Knowing that we understand the need for the seed to
fall on good soil. Everything depends on our receptivity and response
to God's word. The seed of God's word and his love for us must fall
on rich soil to be nourished. The fact is that most of the time
a clear explanation of the types of ground that are not good. We
have to ask ourselves if the soil of our soul resembles one or the
seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom
without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away
what was sown in his heart."
with God" by Francis Fernandez, the author writes: "The path is
soil that has been walked on until it has become hard. ... It is
like empty souls, prepared to accept only external things. Such
souls are incapable of recollecting their thoughts and guarding
rocky ground, Jesus says: "The seed sown on rocky ground is the
one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he
has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or
persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away."
"The stony - "rocky ground" -- represents superficial souls with
little inner depth, souls that are inconstant and incapable of persevering.
They have good dispositions; they even receive grace with joy, but
when the moment comes to confront difficulties they turn back. They
are not capable of sacrificing themselves in order to fulfill the
resolutions they have made so their resolutions die without bearing
address thorny ground, saying, "The seed sown among thorns is the
one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of
riches choke the word and it bears no fruit."
"love of riches, a disordered ambition to gain influence or power,
and excessive concern for well-being and a comfortable way of life"
to "sharp thorns that prevent any union with God."
We can see
how important it is for the soil to be ready for God's word. The
preparation of the soil makes a big difference in the final results.
Jesus says, "The seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the
word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred-
or sixty- or thirty-fold."
In the words
of St. John Chrysostom: "We can see that the difference depends
on the person receiving it, for even where the soil is good there
is a great deal of difference between one patch of ground and another.
You can see that neither the farmer nor the seed is at fault, but
the soil on which the sowing was done. This is not a result of nature,
but of the disposition of the will."
The rich soil
that we tend and nurture to receive God's word and love must be
fortified and cared for through great effort. Each day we must tend
to our garden, deepening our knowledge and love of God through our
prayer life and our participation in the sacraments.
Let us be sincere
in acknowledging the situation of our soul. Let us accept that sometimes
we do not receive God's word with the right disposition, or at least
that we can do better in preparing our soul for the grace of God
to be more effective in our souls. What is the condition of our
soul: a hard path, rocky ground, thorns or rich soil?
Listen to God
through the Scriptures, preaching, the Mass, spiritual reading and
the teachings of the Church. Keep in mind Jesus' words "blessed
are your eyes because they see and your ears because they hear"
and seek to listen more attentively.
May the Blessed
Virgin Mary, who knew how to listen, help us to listen and be receptive
to God's word, and to bear fruit in our lives a hundred- or sixty-