As a great crowd gathered, and people came to him from every town, Jesus began teaching them with a story: “The sower went out to sow the seed. And as he sowed, some of the seed fell along the way, was trodden on, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground; and no sooner had it come up than it withered, because it had no water. Some seed fell among thorns; the thorns grew up with the seed and choked it. But some seed fell on good soil and grew, producing fruit, a hundred times as much!” And Jesus cried out, “Listen then, if you have ears to hear!”
The disciples asked him, “What does this story mean?” And Jesus answered, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God. But to others it is given in the form of stories, or parables, so that, seeing, they may not perceive; and hearing, they may not understand.
Now, this is the point of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the wayside are people who hear it, but immediately the devil comes and takes the word from their minds, for he doesn’t want them to believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are people who receive the word with joy, but they have no root; they believe for a while and give way in time of trial. Among the thorns are people who hear the word but as they go their way, are choked by worries, riches, and the pleasures of life; they bring no fruit to maturity. The good soil, instead, are people who receive the word and keep it in a gentle and generous mind, and persevering patiently, they bear fruit.
In today’s gospel reading Jesus describes a category of people who, in his own words, “have no root.” Unfortunately, millions of people live and never go down into the solitude of their hearts. In times of crisis they fall apart, not having any roots, or they simply never understand what is the meaning of life.
How, then, do we acquire roots? By doing what we don’t get into the habit of doing, namely, standing back and looking at our lives. This is done when we introduce periods of silence into our lives.
If we live only on the surface of our lives without growing roots in our depths, we are in danger of being carried away by the storms of life. We need silence, quiet reflection, private prayer in order to grow deeper roots in God. This requires much courage. But it is the secret for a fruitful life yielding a hundredfold. All the spiritual masters agree on this. And, whenever we encounter a person who is on fire with the love of God and neighbor, we notice that the roots of that person have struck deep into the soil of spiritual silence. Is there enough real silence in my life?
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