On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
“Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed 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
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.” (Mk 4:1-9)
God gives us many gifts. As He does, He asks for some return. He does not give us gifts to hoard or to waste. He gives us gifts to use for the benefit of all.
One of those gifts is His Word. That Word is sown into our souls. In order to produce fruit, it needs good, healthy, well-maintained “soil”. If our soil is rocky or barren or full of weeds because of sin, the Word will not be able to take root or develop the way that God intends and we will not be able to produce spiritual fruit.
If, however, we have good, healthy soil, we will be able to produce richly.
My father was a farmer at heart. He turned our backyard into a huge garden. There were vegetables and vines and fruit trees. He tended the soil with care. He added mulch to suppress weeds as well as to feed the soil. He would go to Hammond every other year when the circus was in town to purchase manure from the animals to mix in the soil. He wanted the soil to be the very best so that his plants and vines and trees would produce rich crops.
We need to do the same with our souls. We need to tend the soil, to remove the weeds, to fertilize the ground, to aerate the soil so that it is ready not only to receive the Word but to allow it to thrive in our hearts and produce all sorts of spiritual fruits.
How do we do all of that? There are many ways: prayer (personal as well as public), celebrating Mass, spiritual reading, meditation, reading and reflecting upon the Bible, and doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy. These are just for starters. The list itself is as large as you can make it.
There are many opportunities to cultivate the soil of your soul. Find the ones that are best for you and get started!
FAITH ACTION: Cultivate your “soil” today. Take a good amount of time and spend it in silence with the Lord. As you speak to Him in your heart, leave some silence so as to give Him the opportunity to speak to you as well.