Reflection for Sunday, July 11, 1999: 15th week in Ordinary Time.

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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The seed is the Word of God. Our hearts are the soil. And Jesus has the sower's determination and trust. Could it be that he wants to send us to be sharers of the Word with the same determination and trust? "Just share the Word. Don't be deterred by the hardness or complexity of human hearts. There is good soil to receive the Word and to produce a full harvest. The promise of Isaiah 55 is indeed true. The great groaning Paul writes about gives birth to new life."||The mystery becomes more exciting when we realize that we each have hearts that are complicated. There are indeed parts of my heart that are hard. The Word has not penetrated there yet. No matter how "open" I am, parts of my heart are still unavailable for depth and the power of God's love for me, and what that means for my loving of others. Wounds, angers, denial keep God's love at bay. Parts of my heart sense the impact love and healing will make on me. I comfort and busy myself. These parts of my heart are impenetrable.|There are parts of our hearts that seem receptive. Receptive without depth. In these parts of my heart, there is a genuine consolation at receiving the Word. I even like to tell people that I received the Word. I'm comforted by God's mercy, accept God's love, experience the call of Jesus, am challenged by the mission of Jesus to the marginal and poor. However, I don't give much room for deep roots in these parts of my heart. I like the experience of faith and love and discipleship, but I don't let it grow to much depth. These religious feelings and experiences are not supported and sustained by prayer and reflection, the nourishment of community, the development of habits and commitments. This level of reception just can't handle tough times. I lose my peace and joy and freedom almost immediately whenever I am stretched or find conflict or opposition. The call for sacrifice or self-denial dry this Word up and it doesn't survive in these places in my heart.|There are still other places in my heart which do seem to have depth. Sustained growth and some deep graces have allowed me to let the Word of God take root in my heart and begin to show promise of bearing fruit for the kingdom. Real charity and care for others flows from these parts of my heart. But, subtle treachery strangles the Word in these places of my heart. The Word gets choked by the thorny competing desires that have grow up here. There are unconverted desires that still crave, even lust for, pretty worldly stuff. Not having dealt with these weeds in this otherwise receptive soil, I find that no lasting fruit comes from these parts of my heart.|In this complicated heart, the Sower's scattering of Seed bears much fruit in some places in my heart. These are places that have been prepared to be good soil through suffering. Through experiences of poverty, even humiliation, these places in the heart have become humble. (Latin, humilis, "low," comes from humus, "earth.") The gratitude in this earth proves to be rich soil for God to call me to be a companion in Jesus' own mission. This soil is fertile ground for solidarity with others who suffer. It is in these parts of my heart that the deepest experiences of community happen. The blossoms, that open up and decorate this part of my heart with hope, are the communal celebrations of God's love and mercy that mission me. The harvest of wheat from this part of my heart can become bread for the world, hungry and thirsty for justice.|We can sow boldly. Every heart has rich soil, ready for the Word.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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