And Jesus spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow.” Matthew 13:3
The soil of my heart varies day to day, sometimes moment to moment. Sometimes I don’t understand the Word of God and don’t take the time to study and meditate on it. Sometimes pain and fear of others’ disapproval prevent me from believing in and speaking the Word of God’s presence and love and forgiveness. Sometimes financial hardship and job worries and the heartbreak of racist acts and abuse and human trafficking consume my thoughts and I have no energy to trust that God is in charge and has a vision of love and peace for the world.
And sometimes my heart is soft and open and ready to receive the Good News of God’s compassion, forgiveness, and mercy. Then I am able to love my neighbor and do good to those who hurt me. Then I bear the rich fruit of peace and nonviolence. Then I treat all human persons with respect and kindness.
“Do not forget the LORD, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery; who guided you through the vast and terrible desert with its saraph serpents and scorpions, its parched and waterless ground; who brought forth water for you from the flinty rock and fed you in the desert with manna, a food unknown to your fathers.” Deuteronomy 8:14b-16a
It is God who leads me through and out of the dark, arid, despairing times. The kindness of people who listen to me, encourage me, and feed me with their love and compassion are God-reminders of Who is in charge.
Brothers and sisters, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11
To serve the cause of justice, I must be aware of God’s presence and ask God to show me the next right action. I must be grounded in love of my neighbor and ask the Lord to give me the courage to love unconditionally. I must empty myself of self-serving justification and ask the Holy Spirit to fill me with love and peace.
Philip Galle (1537-1612) after Jan van der Straet The Meeting of the Apostles and the Women in the Upper Room engraving National Gallery of Art
Hear, O Lord, the sound of my call;
have pity on me, and answer me.
Of you my heart speaks; you my glance seeks. Psalm 27:7-8
There are so many people to pray for, so many people who are ill, suffering, lonely, afraid, or abused. People who are locked down in nursing homes because of the COVID-19 virus. People who have lost their homes and have become refugees. People who are fleeing unjust and unsafe regimes and are seeking asylum in new countries. People who are being trafficked and sold into slavery. People who have no one to pray for them.
Today I will remember to pray. I will ask the Lord to hear me as I pray for those in need in our fragile, troubled world.