I beg your pardon; I never promised you a rose garden! Saturday, 24th week in ordinary time – Lk 8:4-15
Many of us read with utmost seriousness several self-help books. We become captive and are riveted to some ‘new thought’ we come across. This becomes our new mantra for a while or as I have come to believe the ‘flavour of the season’ for some. It becomes our social talking point and we seem to peddle the thoughts and work incessantly like as if the passing on of this ‘good news’ will save the world.
All this passes away when some other ‘new ideology’ floats by. What most people fail to realise is that while these book may seem ‘new’ to us, they books have been simply reinventing the wheel. Perhaps what one often fails to see is that the greatest truths are espoused simply in the Bible; unfortunately what is seen as readily available is not always valued and what is not wrapped in tinsel and glossy paper is not valuable. We seem to know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Deep within in us we know that we long for a wholesome relationship and that relationship can be found with God. This longing is often obscured if not impeded by sin which makes us ashamed and often mistakenly leads us to believe that as a consequence God does not want to share a relationship with us.
There is no one in their right mind who actually seeks sin, most seek to do good and live in harmony with others. To do this we need to attach ourselves to God and not to a passing ‘flavour of the season’. Yet our human experience has proved to us beyond a doubt, how hard this struggle is because of sin and temptation. St Paul himself confesses to this struggle when he admits, “I want to do good yet I do evil,”
Jesus acknowledges this struggle in the parable of the sower which in reality should be the ‘parable of the soil’. The setting of this parable, one of fifty parables in the Gospel of Luke is a period post Jesus’ tour of several cities and villages in Galilee. Now the people flock to Him from “town after town”. Jesus understands that to many of them He could be what has become to us ‘a flash in the pan’, a new fascinating wonder working Rabbi. This was not what the Lord desired for His teachings are the ‘eternal truth’ a claim He so boldly and clearly made when he said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
To elucidate His point He tells a parable, one right out of their everyday life, a parable on farming. In it He highlights the constant and never changing reality; namely that the sower and the seed are the same. What changes is the soil and that is the human person. In presenting the ‘hearer’ with four different kinds of soil Jesus also acknowledges the causes of assault on the ‘good intentions’ of even the worst kind of soil. Remember all four soils accept the sower and the seed, it is how they react to circumstances within and without that comes to bear in their final yield.
While some soil fall to the wily ways of the devil ( verse12) others have no root when they are faced with persecution and hence commit the sin of apostasy by ‘ falling away’ ( verse 13). Still others are “chocked by the cares, riches and pleasures of life” finding the calling to persevere in ‘The Word’ too hard. What does take root and sprout is the person who “holds fast” (resisting the temptations of the devil, apostasy and worldly pleasure) and does so with an “honest and good heart”. It is they who “bear fruit with patient endurance”.
The Gospel of today lays no claim to a Christian life that is free from trial and temptation; struggle is part of life and Christ never preached a rose garden in fact He was the first to accept the crown of thorns. For those that think that the Bible is merely a book of regulations and prohibitions, look again. It is a book of life for in it contains all the truth for everyday life and most of all we have THE SOWER, a trustworthy God who will ultimately bring the Kingdom of God to fruition.
Fr Warner D’Souza
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