God spoke all these words. He said, ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
‘You shall have no gods except me.
‘You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven or on earth beneath or in the waters under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God and I punish the father’s fault in the sons, the grandsons, and the great-grandsons of those who hate me; but I show kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
‘You shall not utter the name of the Lord your God to misuse it, for the Lord will not leave unpunished the man who utters his name to misuse it.
‘Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. For six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath for the Lord your God. You shall do no work that day, neither you nor your son nor your daughter nor your servants, men or women, nor your animals nor the stranger who lives with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that these hold, but on the seventh day he rested; that is why the Lord has blessed the sabbath day and made it sacred.
‘Honour your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God has given to you.
‘You shall not kill.
‘You shall not commit adultery.
‘You shall not steal.
‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
‘You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his servant, man or woman, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is his.’
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You are to hear the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the evil one comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the man who received the seed on the edge of the path. The one who received it on patches of rock is the man who hears the word and welcomes it at once with joy. But he has no root in him, he does not last; let some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, and he falls away at once. The one who received the seed in thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this world and the lure of riches choke the word and so he produces nothing. And the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty.’
And the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it
Gardening is one of my favourite hobbies. I like to plant anything and usually embark on a trial-and-error process to see which plants I can grow in my home. Some are able to grow successfully, while some did not make it along the way. And others made no progress at all.
Today’s Gospel is about the parable of sower. The word of the kingdom is compared to the seed when planted in different kinds of soil. The soil is us. If we are like the edge of a path, we only hear the Word but we cannot understand it. Thus, we are more susceptible to the forces of evil. If we are like patches of rock, we enjoy hearing the Word. But that joy is only shortlived and will not last long; and we succumb easily to any hardship that we eventually encounter. If we are like the thorns, we hear the Word but we have so much earthly baggage that hinders our faith to grow. However, if we are like the rich soil, that is when we understand what we hear and we live our faith and continuously develop it.
The Gospel is telling us that everyone has the opportunity to hear the Word of God. However, living what we hear depends on how rooted our faith is. Sometimes, we may seem to understand what we hear. But there will also be times that we cannot comprehend anything, no matter how easy it may appear. Living our faith is not easy. There have been moments in my life when I thought I had strong faith, and yet I felt that I was encountering more opportunities to sin. For example, when I have the urge to pray and to live out my faith, strong challenges inevitably come my way. The desire to be closer to God gives me this feeling that I am moving away from Him.
To be like rich soil requires hard work and a strong prayer life. It is very challenging and tempting to give in. But our unceasing prayers keep us strong in our faith; and our strong faith is an important tool to cultivate ourselves into becoming rich soil.
How do we live our faith? Are we like the edge of the path? Are we like patches of rock? Are we like thorns? Or do we strive to be like rich soil?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Beryl Baterina)
Prayer – Dearest Lord, we are terribly sorry for all the wrongs that we have done. We pray that we are like rich soil, who hears your word, understands it, and lives it.
Thanksgiving – We thank you Father for loving us. We thank you for always giving us the chance to become better Christians.