by Ken Rolheiser
Being good soil and bearing fruit

How many times have we heard the parable of the sower and the seed? How easily we dismiss its application when it makes us uncomfortable? “Certainly I am not the one on the rocky path that bears no fruit. I do listen,” we assure ourselves.

Recently this passage struck me in a new way. Hopefully we are all in this parable to the happy conclusion. Jesus invites us, as he did the huge crowd he was speaking to, to listen to His explanation.

The seed is the word of God. Our God is a God of abundance. He produces seeds in the millions. Look at a grain field! The message I received recently put me into all of the situations described.

I have been on the path where the seed did not have a chance to sprout in me. Likewise, I have been on the rocks, so to speak, where God’s words were wasted on me, or at best produced little fruit. The more we allow the Holy Spirit into our lives, the more these fruits are evident!

How about the thorns in our lives? We hear the word but go on our merry way pursuing the riches and pleasures of this life. Not that there is anything wrong with joy and pleasure, with the blessings of wealth.

The Word of God keeps showering on us in abundance, but we don’t notice. We are distracted. The “patient endurance” Jesus mentions is more likely to be found when we are struggling at work with an honest heart and holding to the Word.

I repeat, the Word of God keeps coming to us in great abundance. Even among the thorns it can produce a little fruit. Even on the heard path there is some sprouting. But the fruit is the product of the Spirit which produces “love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”. (Galatians 5:22-23). 

The secret to abundant fruit is good soil! We need to cultivate a rich mixture of honesty and good heartedness that will give us the fruit of “patient endurance”. If we are honest we will admit that we have some choice about the paths we walk and the choking thorns we can avoid.

Jesus said to us, “I choose you and appoint you so that you may go and bear fruit.” (John 15:16). And God’s Word was already promised to us in Zechariah 2:4 – “I am coming to dwell among you.” This Word is fulfilled with the coming of Jesus.

Jesus chose to dwell with us and is still with us today in the most intimate way in the Eucharist. Jesus comes into our very bodies in a presence that is a living being. Think of the abundance of fruit possible with that presence in our hearts and our very being.

Just as we still rejoice at Christmas time with Emmanuel, “God-with-us”, we accept the presence of Jesus in a physical and tangible promise which Christ gives us:

“Make your home in me, as I make mine in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, but must remain a part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty, for cut off from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5).

(566 words)