Friday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples:

Hear 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.

— Matthew 13:18-23

The peace of the Lord be with you. I have always enjoyed the parables that Jesus uses to help teach us. Today is the famous parable of the sower of the seed and the conditions of the soil that affect the ability of the seed to take root. I have heard and read this on numerous occasions, but something stood out for me today that had not stood out before. The natural soil of the earth is not always fertile, but over time the soil and its condition can be changed, in many instances with proper fertilization and nurturing of the earth itself.

This morning, I was reminded that our spiritual life is not solely dependent on just our individual efforts. The soil of our souls can also be nurtured by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as our community. I know personally that the love of the community and the guidance of the Holy Spirit have change the conditions of the soil of my soul over many years.

The takeaway for me today is: I do not, and we do not, have to make these changes alone. The beauty of our Christian tradition is that we celebrate and we grow as a community. This is the great importance of us gathering together for worship, celebration, and for major life events. So today if you’re feeling a bit stressed, if you feel like you’re not making progress with something that has continued to thwart your efforts at being more loving — ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and reach out to members of your community for support.

We do not walk alone; we walk together and with Him who leads us. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Friday, July 24, 2020