How does the Word of God affect us? What do we expect to receive from God? And, of course, what are we to do with whatever we receive? Those are surely questions that can emerge from our Scripture readings today.
In our first reading we learn that Jeremiah’s first reaction to the Word of God that came to him was a deep sense of inadequacy. “I cannot speak; I am too young,” he responds. It’s no wonder he feels that way given that God’s Word asked him to speak on God’s behalf and call the people back to faithfulness. Jeremiah could not help but wonder, “Why should the people listen to me?” After all he was neither experienced or wise…nor could he speak effectively. At least that was his first reaction. But as is the case with just about everyone God calls, God does not accept excuses based on the person’s lack of maturity or skill. Rather God promises to be with them and give them what they need to fulfill God’s charge. As it turns out, God kept his promises and filled Jeremiah with great wisdom and great eloquence. Jeremiah’s Word that he received from God inspires us to this day.
The parable Jesus tells in today’s Gospel is also about the Word of God. The story tells us that God is not stingy with his Word but rather spreads it extravagantly, almost wastefully. God doesn’t restrict his sowing the seed of His Word to the fertile ground where He receives back more than He sows. No, he scatters the seed of His Word everywhere and lets the result follow naturally.
These readings today remind us that God continues to bless us greatly and offer us ever new possibilities to respond to His love even though there are rocky and weed covered parts of us. God doesn’t demand that we get rid of all the rocks, weeds and hard ground in our lives before He gives us life-saving Word. No, God just keeps showering ever part of us with His Word. So, let’s give thanks for God’s foolish generosity…and welcome Him into every part of our life!
Fr. Michael Higgins, C.P. is the director of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.