16th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday

In today’s Gospel Our Lord he tells us about the obstacles that can keep us from having his Word bear fruit in our lives. As we can see, there is a lost of “noise” that can try to drown out his Word, and not all of it is self-generated. As he taught us yesterday, if we don’t understand what he is telling us, his Word stays on the surface and doesn’t penetrate our hearts, and the Evil One can easily sweep it away before it has any effect. We live in a culture today that can be shallow, superficial, and base: all of those things can form a sort of screen on our hearts that prevents God’s word from getting in. It’s also true that there is an active Evil presence out there that would like us to remain shallow and superficial and someday lose eternity with God forever, which is why we always need to watch and pray in moments of temptation and seek to understand God’s Word with profundity.

There’s a moment where an insight into his Word causes sensible consolations and warm feelings, but sentiments are often skin deep and change direction like the wind. If we only listen to feel good, when we start feeling bad we’ll stop listening–enthusiasm only lasts so long. God’s Word wants to be with us and help us in our ups and downs; he always has something to say, so whether we’re exultant about something or despondent, we need to keep listening, harder if needed. Lastly, there can also be a moment where we let our anxiety about something separate us from his Word: we become more concerning with the passing things of this world and not about the Kingdom: we worry about money, power, or pleasure. If we become attached to those things they won’t just drown out God’s Word, but they’ll make us deaf to many other things as well. A bad environment can choke out his Word in our lives, so we need to always consider whether there are certain places we should no longer go, certain people we should no longer see (if we’re too weak to change and to help them), certain things we should no longer do.

Let’s ask Our Lord to help us examine our “soil” today and let the seed of his Word fall on the rich spots, far away from thorns or rocky ground, in order to bear all the fruit we can.

Readings: Exodus 20:1–17; Psalm 19:8–11; Matthew 13:18–23.