On Sunday, Pope Francis said that in the parable of the seed and the sower Jesus invites us to reclaim the ‘soil’ of our hearts by bringing to him, in prayer and Confession, the stones and thorns in need of healing.
“Jesus invites us today to look inward: to give thanks for our good ground and to work on the ground not yet good,” he said July 16.
“Let us ask ourselves if our heart is open to welcome with faith the seed of the Word of God. Let us ask ourselves if the rocks of laziness are still large and numerous within us; we identify and we call by name the brambles of our vices.”
“We find the courage to make a beautiful reclamation of the land, bringing to the Lord in Confession and in prayer our stones and our stumps. In doing so, Jesus, a good sower, will be happy to do an extra work: to purify our hearts, removing the stones and thorns that stifle his Word.”
Pope Francis addressed the crowds in St. Peter’s Square before leading the Angelus Sunday, reflecting on the day’s Gospel of the Parable of the Sower and the Seeds.
When Jesus used parables, he noted, as in today’s Gospel, he uses simple language and imagery from everyday life to help explain the mystery of the Kingdom of God in terms that can “easily be understood by everyone.”
“That’s why they listened willingly and appreciated his message that came straight to their heart.”
In the parable, we know that Jesus is the sower, and in this image he doesn’t impose, but proposes, the Pope said. He throws the seed, attracting us not by conquering us, but by giving himself to us.
And this seed, “how can it bear fruit?” he asked. “If we welcome him.”
“Therefore the parable concerns above all us: it speaks, in fact, of the soil rather than of the sower. Jesus performs, so to speak, a ‘spiritual radiography’ of our heart, which is the ground upon which the seed of the Word falls.”
“Our heart, like soil, can be good and then the Word brings so much fruit, but it can also be hard, impermeable. This happens when we hear the Word, but it bounces off of us just like on a road: it does not enter,” he said.
He pointed out that between the good soil and the road of asphalt or ‘sanpietrini’ – the name of the rounded cobblestones that can be found in St. Peter’s Square and around Rome – there are two intermediate terrains: the stony and the thorny.
In the stony ground the seed germinates, but doesn’t put down deep roots, the Pope said.
“So is the superficial heart that welcomes the Lord, wants to pray, love and testify, but does not persevere, tends to wear and never “takes off”. It is a thick heart, where the rocks of laziness prevail over the good land, where love is inconsistent and passable.”
What do the thorns in the thorny ground represent? “‘The world’s concern and the seduction of wealth’, so Jesus says explicitly,” he said.
We all have these brambles in our hearts, such as making idols out of worldly wealth or power, or only living for ourselves. “You need to tear them away, otherwise the Word will not bear fruit, Francis emphasized.
July 16 is also the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Pope concluded his message by saying that the Blessed Virgin Mary is “unsurpassed in welcoming the Word of God and putting it into practice.”
May she help you “to purify your heart and preserve the presence of the Lord.”