Here this! A sower went out to sow…seed fell on the path…on rocky ground…fell among thorns…and on rich soil…” – Mark 4:3-8
There is so much rich content in this passage from Mark, that it would be great content for a retreat on Christian Discipleship. It is also a good way to prepare for Lent, which begins next Wednesday 🙂
A question for our reflection: What is the state of our heart as we approach the Lenten season? We can examine the four scenarios in Jesus’ parable and use them to consider our readiness to receive God’s grace this coming penitential season.
…seed fell on the path…
The pathways are trampled down, hard, not a friendly environment for seeds to penetrate and find a place to grow. If God plants the seed of the Word on the pathway of our heart, it may just as easily be swept up as though by a bird. If our heart is hard, like a path, God’s word has no way to get in, even if we desire it.
…some fell on rocky ground…
On the edges of a farmed field, the soil is shallow, and often full of rocks that were removed from the deep, rich soil intended for farming. It is only natural that some seed would fall there, and has no trouble sprouting up at first, but the rocks and shallow soil make it difficult for the plant to find sustenance to grow. It soon withers and dies. Our faith can sometimes be that way, we start out wanting a relationship with Jesus but don’t take time to count what it is going to cost us. Another way we can look at it is, that many Christians don’t let themselves be changed by Jesus, but “play it safe” and do not let Jesus’ message to get beyond the surface of their lives.
…some fell among thorns…
This image of a young shoot being choked by thorns is easy enough to understand. Then, how do we keep the thorns from ‘choking’ our faith? Or, a better question, what are the thorns that keep us distracted from the things of God? The things that crowd for attention in our hearts? Is there a distraction you want to give up this coming Lent so to make more quality time with God?
…some fell on rich soil…
This is the ‘soil’ that our hearts need to plant the Word of God in, and have it nourish our souls. But, if our hearts are not at this state, what can we do?
Three things, which can make a great Lenten practice:
- Listen to God’s word every day. Let it penetrate your heart, and shape your thoughts. Little by little your heart will become more pliable toward the things of God.
- We must receive God’s word. After reading, what strikes you? How does it affect your life? Sometimes, when we hear something that is uncomfortable, we tend to shut the door to it. Lent is a time to stay open to what God is saying to you in His Word.
- Apply God’s Word today. We have to act. By applying what we have heard, we take a small step to becoming disciples of Jesus. Do works of charity is a great preparation of the heart. It slowly churns the soil and makes it a better place where Jesus can dwell.
What is the state of your heart? Take some time this week as we prepare for Lent and ask the Lord to help you prepare it, so that at Easter, you may find an abundant harvest.
May God bless you!