SAINT PIUS OF PIETRELCINA (PADRE PIO), PRIEST (MEMORIAL)
As for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who . . . bear fruit.
By this time in his ministry, Jesus was amassing quite a following. People flocked to see him as news of his mighty deeds and inspiring teaching spread (Luke 8:1, 4). Seeing just such a crowd, Jesus told a parable about a sower and his seed to caution them about the challenges they might face on the path to fruitful discipleship. Rocks, thorns, and thieving birds—any of these can make us struggle to bear fruit for the Lord.
These warnings can lead us to question: how can I provide rich soil for the seed that God has entrusted to me?
First, we nurture that seed every time we immerse ourselves in God’s word, seek him out in prayer, or receive his grace in the sacraments. As we do these things, we’re fertilizing our soil and stretching out our roots for nourishment from the Lord.
At the same time, God uses our experiences in prayer to bring us clarity about any “weeds” in our lives. He helps us recognize places in our hearts that might be hardened or choked off by the “anxieties and riches and pleasures of life” (Luke 8:14)—places that prevent us from bearing fruit. Then with the Spirit’s help, we can pull out those weeds, enrich our soil, and grow deeper roots.
But this seed of faith is not meant only to grow deep roots—God wants it to bear fruit! This happens as we stretch out our branches to care for the people around us. As we serve one another, we bear the fruit of love and humility, of kindness and patience. We also bear the fruit of justice as we uphold the dignity of our brothers and sisters. Our works of mercy not only bless our neighbor, but they also help remove the thorns and thistles in our own hearts.
We till our soil by all these acts of love, and as we do, the worries of life begin to lose their hold on us. Then our branches can spread even wider and higher, with fruit to feed all of God’s children.
“Jesus, help me to bear fruit for you today.”
1 Timothy 6:13-16