Today’s Gospel reading is St. Mark’s account of the parable of the sower. Some of the sower’s seeds fall on the path, where birds ate it. Some fell on rocky ground, where it withered for lack of roots. Some fell among thorns, that choked the seed. “And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
We hear that and want to think that we’re always the good soil – that we hear and embrace the Word of God. And, of course, sometimes we do, sometimes God’s Word gets through to us at a deep level and we do manage to live out of it. But, if we at all self-aware and honest with ourselves, we know that there are times we are more like the rocky or thorny soil, and things happen that prevent the Word from “sticking” in a way that makes a difference in our lives. We’ve got patches of each kind of soil in our heart.
Pope Francis spoke about this parable during the Prayer Vigil at World Youth Day this past July. After talking about what kind of ground we are – and what kind of ground we want to be, he invited the youth into prayer with him, a prayer that recognizes the reality of which I just spoke.
Here was Pope Francis’ invitation to them, which you might find beneficial as you reflect on this scripture passage today:
In silence, let us all look into our hearts and each one of us tell Jesus that we want to receive the seed of his Word. Say to him: Jesus, look upon the stones, the thorns, and the weeds that I have, but look also upon this small piece of ground that I offer to you so that the seed may enter my heart. In silence, let us allow the seed of Jesus to enter our hearts. Remember this moment. Everyone konws the seed that has ben received. Allow it to grow, and God will nurture it.