Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

(Hebrews 10:11-18; Mark 4:1-20)

Artists in New Mexico for many years have featured the story-teller.  This motif shows a woman sitting down with children not just around her but hanging from her.  She is the popular story-teller who can lift listeners’ hopes to new heights.  In today’s gospel Jesus is presented as a popular story teller.

The people crowd about him.  Evidently he has already achieved fame not just as a healer but also a preacher.  He can make the people cry with joy and shake with fear.  In today’s passage they wonder about what kind of ground they have become. They ask themselves, “Am I hard, weedy, or rocky soil? How am I impeding the word of God from growing in me?” Some of them, however, are properly tilled.  They take time for prayer so that they remember God’s goodness and other persons’ difficulties.  They weed out excessive desire by avoiding provocative stimulation.  They form good habits that crush the clods of pride and sloth. 

Jesus still speaks to us with his challenging stories.  But the most meaningful story of them all is not the one he told but the one he lived.  He allowed himself to be tortured and killed so that our sins may not ruin us.  As the reading from Hebrews intimates, he died on the cross so that we might live glorious lives in him.