our “dirty’ faith

today’s gospel (matthew 13: 1-23) at mass is about our disposition in receiving the “word of the kingdom”. the image given is seed that falls on different soil (dispositions).

“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.” (Matthew 13: 18-23)

the key seems to be understanding and responding to what that “word of the kingdom” is really about. if we do not understand it, the evil one can steal it away from our hearts; if we understand it, we can bear great fruit.

part of the understanding is about difficulties in life. when things get tough in tribulations and persecution how do we respond? only with deep, solid roots will we be able to respond well. how do i strengthen the roots of my faith?

other things that work against our understanding are worldly anxieties and the lure of riches. these dispositions can occur when we think that everything depends on us and our faith in God’s providence and strength disappears. greed for wealth and “more” can really choke us off to the word of the kingdom: love in our lives is frustrated. do financial worries and other preoccupations cloud my mind and my faith?

do these types of soil describe my current disposition? what fruits do i see in my relationships– with others and God? what is my response in faith today to the kingdom of God? many christians confuse the kingdom of God with heaven: this is a sign of lack of deep, strong roots.

i pray the Spirit’s grace to aid us in striving toward the soil of understanding the kingdom among us and the fullness of God’s reign in the future. through this understanding and response may we produce the various fruits of the kingdom in our lives– especially hope, justice peace and love.

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