Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, modesty, self-control and chastity. These gifts, or fruits, are virtues that each one of us desires and hopes that we will have in many occasions of life. God will give them to us if he sees that we desire them.
The parable of the sower shows us in a very effective way Jesus’ task of counteracting the work of the devil in the world. Jesus sows the Word of God and the devil comes to steal it away. The devil is always trying to undo the good that God is doing with men. It is sobering to observe that in this gospel three out of four times the seed does not give any fruit. Love, peace, joy, etc. are lacking. It sounds like my life, and maybe yours also.
What are some of the tricks that the devil uses to rob God’s word from being fruitful? First, there is a lack of understanding. His word makes sense and we may remember it, but when we don’t make it our own by practicing it, then we don’t really understand it. You may understand the concept of forgiveness but perhaps you never really forgave your parents or a sibling or a friend, for something that still causes you pain. So you really don’t know what Christian forgiveness is.
Jesus says another cause of a lack of fruitfulness is rocky ground, or a lack of roots, a superficiality in my relationship with God. I may easily turn away from a consolation that comes from God for something that is unimportant. Even in vital things like prayer or attention to my spouse or kids, I am always in a hurry.
Finally, there is the thorns of worldly anxiety or distractions that chokes the faith that we have and makes it sterile. People have the tendency to want to say yes to the Gospel and to the world at the same time. I want to be both Jennifer Lopez and Mother Theresa, and this is not possible.
We can see that the devil has some very effective ways of keeping us having peace and joy and how consistent Jesus is in sowing a lot of seed. Every Sunday, and every day, Jesus is throwing a lot of seed. Where does it fall? Another name for this gospel is the parable of the soils; what kind of soil are we? I suggest that at times we are all of them: soil that is hard, or rocky, or full of thorns, or a rich. Depending on our age or different parts of our life we may have more rocks or more thorns or more good soil. So what can we do? We can ask God to look for ways to expand his reign over us so that more parts of our life be fruitful. Family life is a fundamental area that needs God’s presence and his word. Today most people are ninety percent concerned with their work, and this has many bad consequences for their marriage and family.
The bible tells us that the Word of God is very near us. It is in your mouth and it is in your heart, if you listen well, so now you can put it into practice. The seed that God throws is always fruitful, enormously fruitful. Look at the numbers in the parable: some seed multiplies thirty times or sixty or a hundred!! Wow, how generous God is with his seed, with the Word of God he gives us! We only need to put it into practice!!
Dear Brothers and Sisters,