Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hear the Word and Accept It

"A sower went out to sow." With these words, given to us in the beginning of the 4th chapter of Mark's Gospel, Jesus begins a wonderful parable. He challenges the listeners with images of seed, birds, rocky ground, thorns and rich soil. We then are given a glimpse of the "behind the scenes" interaction with His Apostles, where they hear the explanation and are told clearly what the parable means. This is a real blessing, because it means we do not have to guess about the meaning and can concentrate on the implications in our own lives.
We are told that we must resist Satan, root the Word of God in our lives (especially the difficulties), beware of anxiety and the "lure of riches", and hear the Word and accept it. Each of these are important, since they recognize the realities of life. Can any of us say Satan does not try and distract us? Don't we all need to study God's word in the Bible, so that it our lives can be rooted in it? Are we immune to the attraction of possessions? All of the examples given by the Lord can affect us at one time or another in our lives. But knowing this gives us an advantage. It means we can plan.
What form will this plan take? Several possibilities come to mind. First and most important: make the plan! Nothing is more frustrating to the devil than someone who recognizes temptations and makes a conscious decision to plan strategies to resist them. A consistent reading and study of scripture are also important elements. Dusty bibles are the modern day rocky ground. Time management is also a good part of our strategy. Take a look at how much time you spend on each different aspect of life (work, health, family, prayer, learning, etc.) and see if there is a balance.
A final part of the plan needs to be coming to an acceptance of the truth in God's Word, especially when it does not match our own personal desires or plans. Once we begin to submit ourselves to the insights we can gain from a serious consideration of Scripture, we get a glimpse of life as God sees it. And we are then able to respond more and more to the situations of life in a way that God wants for us.
A priest friend of mine has challenged his parish to read the entire Gospel of Matthew during the month of February. Twenty-eight chapters - one chapter a day for 28 days. This is a great example of starting the plan. Perhaps you may want to join them and see what fruits will develop. Who knows - you may just get to see the "thirty and sixty and a hundredfold”!

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