Reflection for Wednesday, July 20, 2022: 16th Week of Ordinary Time.

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Brock, Mary
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|Working in my yard gives me great pleasure.  Gardening is full of surprises about which plants thrive and which are not going to make it.  Working on my yard has taught me to break tasks down into smaller components, to be willing to move a plant to a place it might do better, to accept the results of a force of nature such as a hail storm and to appreciate beauty in the most surprising forms.|In these July days as spring flowers have faded away and other plants are bursting forth, I was delighted to center my prayer around the sower and the seed parable Jesus shares in today's gospel from Matthew.  Jesus is such a good teacher who presents a complex concept in an accessible way.  He trusts that we will hear what we need to hear.|What I hear today is the seed, the word of God, is a precious gift.  Not a fragile gift but one that needs proper attention.   In the right conditions the seed thrives as Matthew describes:  But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.|As a "self taught" gardener I have learned through experience that rich soil can be attained with some effort.  Just as I cannot plunk a shrub in the ground and expect it to grow, I cannot passively hear the word of God and expect my spirit to be animated.  In my garden, creating rich soil requires turning the soil and adding compost.  Truly hearing the word of God requires turning my heart toward the word and honoring the challenges and affirmations in the word.|Planting in the soil and truly hearing the word of God are both just the beginning.   My efforts to provide plants the proper amount of water, to pull weeds, to guard against ravenous insects, to encourage the bee and butterfly pollinators help me focus on ways I can live the word of God.  I pray with these questions:  How can I make sure I give the proper time and attention to hear the word of God?  What temptations distract me and how can I confront those temptations?  In what concrete ways do I live the invitation at the end of Mass to "go forth" to live the word of God in the world?  When do I celebrate the moments that my life is rich soil?|The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower; all who come to him will live forever.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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