Listening

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Readings for Saturday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), Priest – Memorial

“Those on the path are the ones who have heard, but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved.”  Luke 8:12

This familiar story identifies four possible ways in which we hear the Word of God.  Some are like a trodden path, some like rocky ground, others like a bed of thorns and some are like rich soil. 

In each one of these images, there is a possibility of growth with the Word of God.  The rich soil is when the Word is received and bears fruit.  The seed among thorns is when the Word grows but the fruit is choked off by daily troubles and temptations.  The seed sown in the rocky ground results in the Word growing, but ultimately dies off when life gets hard.  The first image of seed falling on the path, however, is the least desirable of all.  In this case, the seed does not even grow.  The earth is so hardened that it can’t sink in.  The path itself provides no nourishment whatsoever and, as the passage reveals above, the Devil steals the Word away before it can grow.

Sadly, this “path” is becoming more and more prevalent in our day and age.  In fact, many struggle with actually listening.  We may hear, but hearing is not the same as actually listening.  We often have much to do, places to go and things to occupy our attention.  As a result, it can be difficult for many people to actually receive the Word of God into their hearts where it can grow. 

Reflect, today, on the many ways that the Devil can come and steal the Word of God away from you.  It may be as simple as keeping you so occupied that you are too distracted to soak it in.  Or it may be that you allow the constant noise of the world to contradict what you hear before it sinks in.  Whatever the case may be, it is essential that you seek to take, at very least, the first step of listening and understanding.  Once that first step is accomplished, you can then work to remove the “rocks” and “thorns” from the soil of your soul.

Lord, help me to hear Your Word, to listen to it, to understand it and to believe it.  Help my heart to ultimately become rich soil that You enter so as to bear an abundance of good fruit.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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