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Journey of Faith
Friday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
“Hear then the parable of the sower. 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. 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 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. But 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 thirtyfold.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, open my heart so that I might receive your Word and hear it in a new way today. Come Holy Spirit, help me learn what you want to teach me though this parable.
- Learn Something New: We may have heard this parable many times, but God is speaking to us anew each time we hear it. We can ask God what he is trying to reveal to us today, at this very moment. Praying with Scripture changes our hearts: “Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). How is the Holy Spirit calling me to deeper conversion by hearing Jesus explain this Gospel? How can I increase my love of God and my neighbor by praying with this parable today?
- Our Faith Journey: After reading this parable, we might be tempted to think, “I’m so glad that I have good soil. Mission accomplished!” Not so fast, though. Most of us have been through all the stages of the path in the parable. Our hearts were once on the path of ignorance and did not understand what God was teaching us through his Word. Our hearts have had rocky soil when we have questioned our faith or fallen away during a time of trial. We have dealt with the weeds and thorns of our own distractions and anxieties, which can choke out the fruits of our good works. Our Lord asks us to reflect once again on the state of our soil and, by the light of the Holy Spirit, to repent and be converted.
- Bear One Another’s Burdens: Remembering our own faith journey helps us to be more compassionate when we notice others struggling with rocks, weeds, and thorns. It’s our Christian duty to help one another: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). When we encounter someone who questions his or her faith–be it because of a persecution, a trial, or worldly distractions, or anxieties–simply sharing our Christ-filled presence and compassion may be enough to help that person remove the obstacle that is keeping him or her from bearing fruit.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, till the soil in my heart and help me to bear good fruit for you, fruit that will last (John 15:16). Help me to recall my own faith journey and give me the grace to draw from my experiences when it can help others grow and flourish in their lives of faith.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will look for an opportunity to bear the burdens of someone close to me. I will listen with compassion, praying silently as he or she speaks.
For Further Reflection: Read this blog post from the Catholic Spiritual Direction website on bearing one another’s burdens out of love for God and our neighbors.
Written by Carey Boyzuck.