Becoming Fertile Ground
Malvern Minute

 

July 26, 2017 – Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saints Joachim and Anne

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (13:1-9)

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
“A sower went out to sow.

And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

 

Reflect: Some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. With this parable, Jesus exhorts his listeners to pay attention.  Pay attention to what? Jesus instructs the crowd at that time and us today to prepare our lives to be rich soil so that we can receive the abundant grace and blessings that he constantly bestows on us. He blesses us lavishly because he never stops loving us beyond measure, but there are times when our lives are distracted by sin and misplaced goals; we are far from him. He sows the fertile seed but it can’t take root in our lives because we don’t care to hear him, our hearts are hard, or we are just filled with too much junk and chatter from the world.  We need to strive to be in a state of grace; and get to confession as often as necessary. We need to regularly set aside time for prayer – to praise God, to share the depths of our hearts with the only one who really knows us inside and out. We need to carve out silence in a world that is constantly trying to grab our attention through empty, senseless distraction. We need to consecrate our lives, homes, families, relationships, business and careers to God so that we might be obedient to what God wants rather than seeking our own will and desires. If we do that, we cooperate with God’s grace; we prepare our lives as rich soil ready to receive seed from the Divine Sower.

Questions: What kind of soil is my life producing? Is my life prepared to cooperate with God’s grace at any moment?  What choices is God asking of me so that my life is always receptive, rich and fertile ground ready to give root to the seed of his grace and blessings?

Pray: Loving God, you are all good! Take away from me anything that is not of you; remove from my heart any distractions that stop me from hearing your voice; prune away the thorns that choke out your Word. Give me a heart that desires you above all things. I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Saints Joachim and Anne: Pray for us!

Today’s commemoration of Saints Joachim and Anne, parents of Mary, remind us about the fruit of a life that cooperates with God’s grace. Pope Francis writes: “Saints Joachim and Anne were part of a long chain of people who had transmitted their faith and love for God, expressed in the warmth and love of family life, down to Mary, who received the Son of God in her womb and who gave him to the world, to us. How precious is the family as the privileged place for transmitting the faith!” According to a 2nd century tradition, Anne and Joachim conceived Mary as a gift from God after years of infertility. Devotion to Anne dates to around 550, when Emperor Justinian built a church in her honor. She is frequently depicted as teaching Mary to read the Scriptures.

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ENCOUNTERING THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)

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