Published as a column in the Holy Sepulcher Bulletin for July 13, 2014
Anyone that has ever tried to get grass to grow on a bare spot in their lawn knows how difficult and what a time consuming process this can be. You have to make sure that before you plant any seed that the area is well prepared. You have to rake to remove rocks and loosen the soil to the proper depth and put extra nutrients into the ground with compost or fertilizer. After scattering seed over the area you must keep the area moist by watering it at least once a day for a couple of weeks, keep the area clear of foot traffic and birds, and remove any weeds that sprout up that will take moisture and nutrients from the seedlings. You have to nurture the grass for it to grow properly. It is a lot of work, but your results depend on how much work you are willing to put into it.
Each and every day God is the sower that we read about in today’s gospel, scattering the seeds of his grace upon each and every one of us. We receive these seeds of grace, but on any given day of our lives they may fall on a trampled path, rocky ground, choked by thorns, or find rich soil in which to grow.
Often the seeds of God’s grace get trampled underfoot by the busy-ness of our lives. We are often running a path from here to there, working and studying, completing our to-do lists, trying to make room for all of the activities and events on our schedules, and so we often don’t have time for God (to go to Mass, to read the Bible, to pray, etc.) and are not prepared to receive his overflowing grace. We need to be willing to put as much effort into our faith and our relationship with God as we do with all the other areas of our lives to take advantage of the grace we are receiving.
But sometimes we really do recognize God’s presence and find God’s grace at work in our lives. We may be struck by the beauty of nature, a Bible verse, an answered prayer, or we may simply recognize something that we hear or something that has occurred that can be no ordinary coincidence, or some other grace we receive that makes us recognize God and his grace present in our lives. The seeds of God’s grace may fall on rocky ground and may soon wither and die if we do not spend some time to experience them to their fullest, to reflect on them, and to thank God for them. We should remove any of the rocks and obstacles that are covering up or hindering us from regularly experiencing God and receiving God’s grace in our ordinary and everyday lives. Then our lives become extraordinary.
Sometimes we live our lives among thorns, which can choke us off from God and his grace. Sometimes we are the thorns. We commit sins or other transgressions that separate us from God and others. We say or hold in our hearts attitudes, beliefs, and feelings that prevent us from living Christian lives of love, mercy, and forgiveness. And sometimes others in our life are the thorns. Our friends, relatives, or coworkers may be the negative influences that separate us from God and his grace and prevent us from being the good Christians that we should be. We should remove any thorns in our lives that are preventing us from bearing good fruit.
Our goal should be to nurture ourselves so that we become rich soil that receives the seeds of God’s grace so that we may bear much fruit. We do not want to be a trampled path, rocky ground, or choked by thorns. We want to feed and water our souls so that we may flourish. To be rich soil we must nurture our relationship with God, grow spiritually, and grow in faith, hope, and love. We should prepare ourselves to recognize and receive the seeds of God’s grace each and every day of our lives. We should be prepared to be Christian people of love, mercy, and forgiveness. We should remove all of the rocks that are preventing us from experiencing God in our everyday lives and get rid of all the thorns that are choking us off from God’s grace.
Growing our faith is often just like trying to get grass to grow on a bare spot in the lawn, it can often be a difficult and time consuming process. It must be properly nurtured in order for it to grow properly. But like the grass, our results are determined by how much time and effort that we are willing to put forth.
Let us become rich soil bearing much fruit from the seeds of God’s grace.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
- Do I recognize the seeds of God’s grace each and every day in my life?
- Do I spend time nurturing my faith?
- Am I bearing the fruit of God’s grace in my life?