By: Fr. John Jasica
Back in October of 2018, I introduced the new pastoral year of SOWING GOOD SEED which comes from the Gospel of Mark. We have a wonderful banner hanging to the right of our large crucifix above the choir area in our sanctuary. We need to check in and see how this year of receiving and sowing has been.
JESUS THE SOWER
In the parable of the sower, Jesus is the sower who generously spreads the seeds of the Good News for everyone. There are no special groups or people that are privileged or more deserving than others. Christ offers everyone his mercy, love, grace and light. We see that his mission throughout the gospels reaches to the furthest corners of society seeking healing, grace and always offering hope.
Jesus continues to be the sower as we gather for Mass, we receive the sacraments, attend various programs, movie nights and faith opportunities. He sows his love and hope in our outreach ministries to those in need and through the many wonderful community events that invite us to get to know one another. We can continue to experience all of this as long as the seeds of faith, hope and love fall on rich soil.
RICH SOIL – RECEIVING THE GOOD NEWS
Jesus abundantly shares himself with all of us. He offers forgiveness, comfort, compassion and grace to all those who seek him and for all those who make room for him. We know that the seeds of the Good News are not instantaneous but must take root in our hearts and be nurtured so that we can experience true conversion and transformation. Have we made room for him in our busy lives? What is needed for us to be good soil for God’s light to enter in?
1) WE NEED TIME
One of the biggest challenges and crosses of our time is time itself. We often run from one event to another, one activity to another, without stopping, reflecting and filling our lives with the best of what God has to offer. Our calendars are filled with too many good things that we can’t find the time or space to even go to church, have a family meal (not in the minivan on the way to practice) or even to stop and rest a bit just to breath.
In order to be rich soil and allow the Good News to take root, we need time for prayer, attending Mass and simply enjoying what God has given us. We need time with one another enjoying each other’s company. Taking the time for the best of things (God, faith, service) will make our lives the best. We all need to slow down, see where we are going and make more room for Jesus.
2) WE NEED EACH OTHER
In the midst of the chaos and busy-ness of our lives we often times forget or don’t have time to connect with each other. We do a lot of things each day but we are often not really present to those around us. This can even happen at church when we arrive late or leave early. We simply don’t connect with one another.
Our weekend celebrations try to help with this by inviting people to connect with those around us. Prior to Mass we invite everyone to have a prayer partner. Hopefully you can connect with new people around you and share something or someone to pray for. They might not become your best friend but that person you spoke to may be carrying a heavy cross or burden that you have now made lighter and offered some true hope knowing they are not alone.
We also have our parish breakfasts, faith and family movie nights, Faith 101, Super Bowl Party and many more opportunities to connect with each other rooted in faith and the parish — our second home. Are we taking advantage or the time to receive the Good News in this way?
3) PERSONAL PRAYER LIFE
Like exercise, we need our daily routine of prayer to connect with God and to stay in tune with where he wants us to be. Prayer is our opportunity to listen to his voice and hopefully follow where he wants us to go. It is not a time to try to convince him to go with our plans.
Our daily prayer can take many forms. Find a regular time that is least interrupted so that you can create that consistent space and time to be with God. You can reflect on the daily readings (Living with Christ app is awesome!), you can listen to some reflective music, or simply be quiet and listen to the whispers of God in your heart. There are many online resources that can help you deepen your spiritual life. The challenge for all of us is to make the time for that to happen. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight but gradually our hearts open up and receive the Good News in a very special and powerful way.
4) A DESIRE FOR GOD
In the end, we need to desire God to be able to receive his grace, light, hope and joy. We need to choose to open our hearts, to create the time and to seek the transformation. God does not control us but allows us to choose to love him. If we want the Good News to fill our lives, if we want healing and strength, then we need to desire God to be at the centre of our daily life. When that happens we see things very differently— we see the way God sees things.
Do we want peace in our hearts, strength and courage to be light in this world, healing and forgiveness? Then we need to desire God. He wants our lives to be full and rich, but for that to happen, the Good News needs to take root in our hearts and lives — we need to be open and ready to receive the seeds of the Good News.
Are you ready, open, and desire God’s love? The parish is the perfect place for all of that to happen. Take a look, dive in and see how receiving the Good News from the sower transforms our lives!!!