13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat there; and the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears,[a] let him hear.”
Today’s gospel reading left me thinking about what it takes to be good soil, the kind where God’s word can take root and grow into a healthy plant that can nourish people and produce more seeds and plants of its kind.
- If you want to be able to grow something, you can’t walk on the soil. It has to be set apart for the purpose of growing things. Soil that is walked on will become compact and this prevents nutrients, water and air getting into the soil. We, too, must set our hearts apart to God. If we give him our world-weary, downtrodden heart, he will use it to grow a fruitful garden.
- Rocky or dry ground must be prepared by having large chunks broken down into tiny ones and sifted through. It also needs to have moisture and organic matter added (often in the form of poop). It needs to get mixed together and turned over from time to time. All this has to happen at the right time and in the right quantities or the soil structure can be destroyed by digging too much or when the conditions aren’t right. Like the rocky or dry soil, we must get our bad habits pounded down and bad elements removed from our lives (often this is painful and we would rather avoid the discomfort). We must have the Living Water of the Spirit added to animate our dry soul, and some disagreeable things mixed into our lives to bring about an environment where growth can take place (poop smells, but without it, there is no beautiful flower or sweet fruit). Our lives may feel out of our control, getting tossed here when we would rather go there, mixed with this group of people when we only want to be with that group of people. Finally, all this takes place at the right time and in the right amount. God is the master gardener and wants us to bring forth the best crop we can–he can be trusted to bring the right things into our lives when they will do the most good. We do not need to rush or take matters into our own hands. All pain can be used to bring about even more good fruit.
- Thorny or weed-ridden ground needs to have the undesired plants pulled up at the roots. It is not enough to just cut it off at the surface. Underneath, the roots will keep sending up new weeds until we find the roots and pull all of them up. Then we must continue to maintain the ground, looking for new weeds and pulling them up. We have to keep the ground free of weeds, or there won’t be enough space for the desired plant to grow. Similarly, we have to prefer God’s word and his kingdom to any other thing. We need to keep our soil empty and ready for him to fill it with his plants. We can’t cling to lesser things. We must remain vigilant, because just as desired plants grow well in fertile soil, so do undesired ones. We need to be able to tell the difference between the two, and root out the weeds before they get bigger and harder to manage and take over.
I want to be happy, and the way to be happy is to be who God made me to be. I don’t want to get in his way and not be able to do the work he made me to do. I must trust him to turn me into the person he made me to be. The scriptures teach us that this process involves pain and discomfort–but on the other side of death and loss is the Resurrection. So, let us choose once again to be set apart for God’s work and know that when people avoid our soil and go looking instead for the popular path, we are being prepared for God’s work. Let us rejoice and be glad when things don’t go our way and we have unpleasant people burrowing into our soil, fertilizing it with their problems. We ought to bless the Lord when our finances don’t allow us to indulge in the latest distraction. All of these trials make our mission and ultimate happiness possible.
The poop cometh, the weeds goeth. Blessed be the name of the Lord! Or, as I told my husband today after Mass, “You will always be the poop that fertilizes my soil, dear.” 🙂
What “poop” has helped your heart’s soil become rich? Comment below.