Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week In Ordinary Time
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Jesus spoke to the crowd at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil…”
In his arrival speech, Pope Francis spoke to the youth at World Youth Day in Brazil, saying:
“I have learned that, to gain access to the Brazilian people, it is necessary to pass through its great hear; so let me knock gently at this door. I ask permission to come in and spend this week with you. I have neither silver nor gold, but I bring with me the most precious thing given to me: Jesus Christ! I have come in his name, to feed the flame of fraternal love that burns in every heart; and I wish my greeting to reach one and all: The peace of Christ be with you!”
In today’s Gospel passage, we learn that Christ’s message comes to us like a seed seeking to find a place to rest and grow. The seed – the message - is simple. It’s good. But what about the ground? What kind of reception will it receive?
Rocky ground. I know a man (divorced) who has tried to raise his four kids the best way possible. He is a highly educated man, very successful in his career, and earns more money than he needs. But when it comes to his children, they have all but rioted against him. He was too old fashioned. He was too stuck in his ways. He wasn’t exciting enough for them, at least not as exciting as the dads on TV. He kept beating to a very different drum: education, morals, education, morals, education, morals.
Suffice it to say, the seed this man threw fell on really rocky ground. Actually, it was choked before it even hit rock bottom.
But kids grow up and have to move out. They need to find a job and pay their bills. Today, this man’s “children” know exactly what he was talking about. Life is tough because it is very fair. You get what you put into it. Nothing more and nothing less. If you screw up, then YOU screwed up.
After years of waste, his kids are going back to school to earn a degree. They are finally putting their “house” in order by cleaning up their act. But their mistakes took their toll and sucked the best years out of their lives. They are starting to build what they should have built ten years ago. They have wasted their life on rocky ground.
At the start, I said this man tried his best. I didn’t say he did the best. He wasn’t careful in monitoring his children’s relationships. He wasn’t careful in controlling his children’s settings. He wasn’t vigilant and proactive in what they heard, read and saw. His divorce cost him his marriage and his children. It cost him another set of eyes, ears and hands.
News report after news report continue to highlight the loss of faith among teens. What they fail to do is correlate this “loss of faith” with a loss of faith in humanity; that is, an increase in absent fathers and mothers; an increase in divorce and separation; the loss of personal morals and dignity; the increase in promiscuity and drug use; the loss of a loving, stable and solid environment.
Kids today are scared. And they take their fear and act on it: they rebel.
The Pope is in Brazil to knock gently at the door. The teens that are there welcome him. The teens that are not there are scared of him. Why? Because all they have ever known is the darkness of sin and the disillusion of falsehoods. All they have ever had is a rough and rocky life.
If they only knew the calm and soothing voice of Jesus Christ.