By JENNIFER BURGIN
“This is the meaning of the parable. The seed is the word of God. Those on the path are the ones who have heard, but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved. Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear, receive the word with joy, but they have no root; they believe only for a time and fall away in time of temptation…..But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.”
As I prayed my Monday evening rosary, I contemplated today's gospel reading. The parable of the seed sower is so familiar to us. We read the story repeatedly throughout the liturgical year and teach it in faith formation classes. How can I approach it differently?
Suddenly, an image came to mind: Rock-paper-scissors! Often I played this game as a kid. The rock beats out scissors; paper beats out the rock; and the scissors beat out the paper. Sometimes the rules didn't apply depending on who I exchanged hand signs with. The "rock" tore apart the "paper" into shreds, or the "scissors" jabbed at the "rock" who had a "softer" composition.
I remember my 8th grade earth science teacher telling us that "Rocks are our friends!" This always sounded so strange and funny. I will never forget good old "Mr. J" because of those words. I often wonder what ever happened to him.
How could I be a friend with an ugly rock? I mean, the "rock" in a game of RPS bullied over all of the other hand symbols. Furthermore, most rocks just sit there in the dirt taking up space. They become deadly objects when they are tossed and thrown around. Nobody likes driving on the road behind a gravel truck. The wind blows out pebbles cracking windshields. Plus, anyone planting a garden understands the perils of digging up huge rocks in order to prepare the soil. Rocks are more like inanimate enemies than hang-around pals.
From the perspective of the parable, sowing a seed in "rocky" soil doesn't bear good fruit. The Word of God is heard and received in a phony-baloney joy. Just pretend to believe in the Word, plant a seed in a soil full of rocks, and watch it do nothing: No crescono! No grow! The rocky soil is too malnourished and ill-cared for to produce anything of sustenance.
As we walk along the path of life, we may create our own version of Rock-paper-scissors. We clinch fists in the rock pose, turning toward anger, aggression, and violence to get what we want. On the other hand, we grab a pair of scissors cutting away religion, integrity, honesty, and humility. We shoo away family members and friends who love us so much. They see how we fail to live up to our full potential as we allow the addictions and immoral behaviors to leave us in perpetual misery. Finally, we pull out paper as we write suicidal notes addressed to God himself. We are tired of living. We are tired of the pain, poverty, guilty, and wretchedness of life. We blame God for everything wrong with us!
Toss out the Rock-paper-scissors as a way of making decisions. Don't give in to the Devil playing tricks with the mind and heart. Turn toward Christ for divine advice. When we think of Jesus as our solid "rock" we suddenly understand how a rock can be our friend! He loves us so very, very much. He gives each one of us the precious seed of faith. It's up to us to either plant the seed in rocky soil or rich soil. Which one will you choose?
"What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we should reap in the harvest of action." -Meister Eckhart
This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin. Please visit her blog: Jennifer's Spectrum of Spirituality