Friday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Jeremiah 3:14-17; Matthew 13:18-23)
In a recent television show, a detective is asked if he believes in God. He only answers that he used to but hints that he lost his faith when his wife was killed in a hit and run accident. The vignette demonstrates what Jesus means in the gospel by saying that some seed falls on rocky ground.
No one’s life is always easy. Everyone suffers setbacks and experiences limits. Yet everyone as well is beckoned to respond in faith to God’s initiatives – both the fact of having been born and, more significantly, in hearing of God’s love. Outrage over one’s lot and rebelliousness in one’s nature hinder that response. These obstacles comprise the rocky ground of the parable. Still it is not inevitable that anyone lose faith. Indeed, by telling the parable Jesus is exhorting his listeners to soften the ground of their lives by removing the rocks of rebelliousness and breaking up the clods of anger to embrace God’s love. As countless suffering people testify, God is more generous with them than they deserve.
We live in an age of disbelief. Statistics may say that the majority still believes in God, but the idea makers are predominately agnostic and the trust of many is tenuous. Now more than ever perhaps it is our responsibility as believers to testify to our faith. We can tell others how when we pray, good things happen. At the very least, prayer enables us to cope with misfortune without cursing or self-pity.