Every once in awhile I come across a passage in the bible that hits me, like a two by four. This happened last night when I read Ephesians 5: 6 – 20. I wish I had read this forty years ago. Maybe if I had I would have this whole thing called life figured out and would not have strayed off the narrow path like I did.
It has been awhile since I have done a Sunday reflection, but then it has been awhile since I have done any reflecting or even much writing. So here goes…
“What are you looking for?”
This is what Jesus asks the two disciples of John the Baptist when they begin to follow him. (John 1:38) This is a question we all should ask ourselves.What are we looking for in our lives? Are we looking for the right things?
We should be looking for Jesus and spending the rest of our lives with one goal in mind: Getting to heaven and spending eternity with God. That really should be our purpose in life, the end goal. After all, we all start out the same, made in God’s image and without sin.We establish an “intimate and vital bond of man to God” when God creates us. But as we learn from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 29:
But this “intimate and vital bond of man to God” (GS 19 # 1) can be forgotten, overlooked, or even explicitly rejected by man. Such attitudes can have different causes: revolt against evil in the world; religious ignorance or indifference; the cares and riches of this world; the scandal of bad example on the part of believers; currents of thought hostile to religion; finally, that attitude of sinful man which makes him hide from God out of fear and flee his call.
If you recall the “Parable of the Sower” (Matthew 13:1 – 9, 18 – 23) you will remember it is about a farmer who spreads his seeds and they fall in four different places:
- The path
- The rocky ground
- Among the thorns
- The rich soil
The only seed that flourished was the seed that fell onto the rich soil. All the rest produced nothing. God is the sower, the seed is his love for us, given to us when he creates each of us. We all have this love and wisdom, but so many of us lose it. Why? Because we are going after the wrong things. Instead of keeping the end in mind, the next life, we are too focused on this life. This leads to us spending all our effort collecting material things, getting more and more “stuff”. And like the seed that falls among the thorns, we begin to grow in Jesus but soon the thorns choke us out. Some of the thorns are listed above in the paragraph from the Catechism.
Where do these thorns and weeds come from? We only need to look at Matthew 13:37 – 39:
He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man. the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one and the enemy who sows them is the devil.”
Satan is the one who comes along and sows the weeds. We don’t see him, we don’t hear him, but he is there. He sows the seeds of temptation in us, things like greed, lust, envy, pride, and this leads us to sin. If we let these weeds grow, like in the first parable the good seed won’t grow, it will eventually die, it will not bear any fruit.
But the good news is that this doesn’t have to be. Unlike the man in the second parable, we don’t have to wait until the weeds have grown before we get rid of them. We are able to tell them apart as soon as they begin to come out of the ground. Even when they are fully grown it is not too late to pull them out. And like the weeds in my little garden, they will come back, but the more you pull them, the less they return. They may never completely stop growing and coming back, just like Satan, but you can keep ahead of them. We need to catch them early enough before they take over.
When Jesus asks where we are going listen when he says “Come and you will see.” (John 1:39)
I haven’t written about any quotes from my spiritual friends lately so here we go. Today I went back to my old friend St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei. He is talking about something I think we can all use more of – Serenity.
How many of us are like the Prodigal Son? How many of us are like his brother? I am referring to today’s Gospel reading from Luke 15:1-32 which has this parable.
With the beginning of Lent, I have mad a commitment to read the daily readings each morning before I go to work. In addition I also read the “Daily Homily” as found on the Catholic Online website. Doing this in the morning gives me all day as I am driving around for my job to think about these readings. Whate I have realized this is one way in which the Holy Spirit speaks to me. Continue reading “Stuff is Only Stuff”