Saturday of the 24th Week of the Year

Luke 8:4-15

The Parable of the Sower

The image which Jesus uses to explain the effectiveness of the Word of God is easy for in the city, I grew up on the farm.

The land on our farm varied. One part was hilly ground and in one part the rock came up to the surface. Another part along the road was quite low and the weeds thrived in it. Another part was level, slightly elevated and thus well drained and has deep rich soil.

After the soil had been plowed and well worked up to receive the seed, the seed was sown. My Dad followed very much the growing pattern of the Palestinian farmer in Jesus’ time. He also had a bag of seed suspended from his shoulder. But the bag had a spout scatter the seed to the right and the left until the whole field had been seeded.

Some seed of course would be blown to the road. Some seed fell on the high rocke parts of the field and other seeds found their place in the low damp areas, while most of the seed fell on deep rich fertile soil.

The sparrows were only too eager to feast on any seed that fell on the road. The seed that fell on the rocky ground sprouted first after a light shower and some sunshine. But when the sun grew hot, the small sprouts quickly withered for lack of moisture. The seed which fell in the low damp area had immediate competition, for weeds sprouted as soon or even sooner than the seed that had been sown. Soon the more hearty weeds took over and choked the growth from the sown seed. On the good deep rich soil what a pleasure it was to see the sprouts and then the plants grow and produce to their full potential. Yet even on the good soil, some plants produced more seeds than others.

Jesus is telling us that the Word of God, sown in the field of this world will produce results in spite of all obstacles. (Fr. Stan Flutz, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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It is interesting to observe young students when they go for a retreat or recollection. Some think they are going to a recollecnic (recollection/picnic). They bring with them a lot of provisions: camera, cellphone, audio gadgets, food and drinks. The purpose of these youngsters is to enjoy. They attend the conferences but their minds are somewhere else.

Others join with a good intention but the message does not go deep. They only remember the stories, the jokes and the activities that made them laugh or cry.

The third group is more serious. Those who belong to this group bring home the message with a resolution to live it out. And effort to grow into better students and better persons is evident. However, when constantly confronted with the harsh realities of life their effort gradually wears out.

The youngsters who can be compared to the good soil are those who keep their fervor and persevere even in the midst of trials. This is possible only with the grace of God.

These four spiritual attitudes are present not only in youngsters but also in grown-ups of all ages. I find them in my own self. For instance, when some holy idea is moralized repeatedly, I tend to harden. Or when a homilist copies from a book and read his homily verbatim in a monotonous voice, I am lulled to sleep. Nothing registers in my ears.

People have selective retention even in spiritual matters. It is grace, not imposition from authority that opens the heart and makes it attentive and receptive to the seed of God’s word. It is the water of grace that enables it to grow and bear fruit. (Sr. Angelita Roferos, SSpS Bible Diary 2005)

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The Parable of the Sower is a favourite passage in every Marriage Encounter Weekend seminar that I have attended.

There is a stage in the seminar where couples discover the plan of God in their marriage. They are asked to reflect on how far is their openness to listen and to share God’s word with each other.

The four different kinds of soil make the couple understand what kind of heart they have in listening and sharing God’s word. “The “rocky ground” represents a “surface level” heart; there is a little openness (pusong plastic). The “path” represents a heart that is impenetrable; there is no openness at all (pusong bato). The “thorny soil” represents an insecure heart; there is openness but the heart has many concerns (pusong mamon). And the “rich soil” represents a generous and a wide open heart (pusong busilak).

We ask ourselves, what kind of heart do we have in receiving and sharing God’s word to others? For married couples, do you believe that listening to your spouse is listening to God? (Fr. Pol Jaucian, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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September 17, 2016 Saturday

I grew up helping my father plow the fields, plant and fertilize rice, and watch it against the grain-eating “Maya” birds. Sometimes I would fall asleep! After the harvest season, we cleared the rocky ground to deepen the field and enable the rice to grow more robust during the next planting season.

Today, Jesus reminds not only the farmers but also the ‘spiritual farmers’ (Jesus said to Peter and his brother Andrew, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men (Mt. 4:18-19)” for they were fishermen) to heed his words and teachings. The farmers, from experience, will immediately recognize the truth in Jesus’ words. “Atarimae!” (“naturally!”, or “no wonder,” or “no doubt”) as a Japanese farmer would say.

“Spiritual farmers,” are those sowing the word of God in the field of the believers, are not only fishers’ of men.  They prepare faith-seekers to grow faithfully so that they bear much fruit for God’s eternal glory.

The Gospel story and mine have parallel images: the birds as the devil who came and ate the grains; the watcher as the seed who fell among the thorns and was choked to sleep. Yet, the most important lesson from the parable is that we have to be rm in our faith in the midst of all sufferings, trials, hardships, challenges in life, and be grounded on the Word of God. Stand on guard and be awake in the field of believers. Otherwise many will come, pull them out and scatter them away.

As “spiritual farmers,” we are responsible for taking care, fertilizing or nourishing these faithful with the Word of God for their spiritual health. In this way, we can produce more laborers for the harvest season, who will defend us against intruders.  Jesus said; “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.” But I say, “Whoever experienced rice farming, relates to my story well.” (Fr. Nelson Barbarona, SVD Japan Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/daily-reflection/890-september-17-2016-saturday

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CHANGES (Lk 8:4-15): There are many ways of classifying events that happen to us. One way is to classify them according to those events we can control. In other words, there are things in life we can change but there are also things we cannot change.

Much of our unhappiness is rooted in our desire to change things that are beyond our control. As a result, we get frustrated.

Much of our unhappiness and our lack of growth is also a result of our refusing to change ourselves or improve ourselves for the better. We merely allow ourselves to stagnate and rot right where we are.

Things in life can either be changed by us or they cannot be changed by us. If certain things cannot be changed, we should accept them. If they can be changed for the better, we should change them for the better.

This is what the Lord tells us in the Scriptures. There are things that depend on us. But there are also things that do not depend on us and are beyond our control.

For example we cannot change the reality of death. We have to accept it. But we can change our sins and our temptations. We can change these, yet many of us are afraid to do so because of the sacrifice it would entail.

Another example is sowing the seed of goodness and love. Being a good example to other people is within our control. But the effect we have on other people is not within our control. Even though we are good, even if we plant the seed of goodness, if other people do not respond, then there is no growth.

Brothers and sisters, wisdom lies in being able to recognize those things we can change and those we cannot change.

If we can change for the better, change. If we cannot change a situation anymore, accepts its reality patiently.

We cannot change God’s will. Yet we can spend so much time and energy, trying to change the mind of God. God knows what is best. When God plans, he knows what is best for us. We cannot change His will, so let us accept it.

On the other hand, there are things we can change about ourselves, yet we are the last ones to acknowledge we need to change. If we can discover this, there is wisdom in us.

If we can distinguish between what we can change and what we cannot change, we have wisdom. Where there is wisdom, happiness is yours. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus Loves You, pp.183-184)

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SEEDS NOT FRUITS (Lk 8:5): A woman went to a supermarket to buy some supplies. To her great surprise, she saw Jesus at the cashier’s tall and had a conversation with Him.

She said to Jesus Christ: “I did not know you worked in the supermarket.”

Jesus replied: “Yes I do, and I can give you all the goods you may want.”

“Give me peace, joy and unity for every person in the world,” the woman quickly requested.

Jesus Christ answered: “Wait a minute, we do not sell fruits we only sell seeds.”

The Lord sells seeds. He sells seeds of peace, joy and unity to us. The seed for joy is forgiveness. If we learn to forgive, to love our enemies, to forget our grudges, then the seeds of peace and joy will grow and we will reap the fruits we are asking from the Lord.

Let us look into our hearts and see if we are ready to sow those seeds. Sometimes we are too preoccupied with getting the fruits, that we are not ready to labor, so that the seeds will yield fruits. Let us ask the Lord for peace, joy and unity, yes. But first, let us be ready to take from the Lord the seeds that make these fruits grow. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus in my Heart, p. 216)

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Treat Me Like Dirt!

September 19, 2015 (readings)

Saturday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Father David Daly, LC

Luke 8:4-15

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for this precious time of meditation and dialogue with you. In meditating on the Parable of the Sower, help me to change so that I will not put any thorns, rocks or hardness of heart in the way of your plans for my life.

Petition: Lord, grant me docility to your will for me.

  1. Hard Ground:We act like hard ground when we hear the inspirations of the Holy Spirit to do what is right, but let them pass as if it were no big deal. We let the devil take away the grace Jesus offers us, and it does not sink into our hearts. Many times superficiality and a lack of faith prevent us from reflecting and taking advantage of the lights that God gives us. We should pray to be more spiritual.
  2. Rocky Ground:How many of us hear the Word of God with joy and follow Christ in the peaceful times, but fall away in the times of trial? We need to let our spiritual roots grow deeper; we need to let the roots of God’s word grow more profoundly into our hearts. The best way to do this is by reading and meditating on the Gospel and solidifying this faith through the sacraments of confession and the Eucharist.
  3. Thorny Ground:The thorny ground represents those of us who are slowed down in our spiritual life by the anxieties, riches and pleasures of life. When the ground of our hearts is thorny, we fail to produce the mature fruit that Christ expects. And we live in the midst of so many thorns…. In order to let God’s grace grow in us, we have to sacrifice our own comfort and pleasure, because apart from the cross there is no growth in personal holiness.

Dialogue with Christ: Lord Jesus, treat me like dirt … but good dirt. I don’t want to place thorns or rocks or hardness of heart in the way of your word. I want to be fertile soil for your word so that you can use me as an instrument to save souls and glorify you.

Resolution: I promise to pray these words many times today: “Not my will, but yours be done.”

epriest.com/reflections/view/517

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Reflection for September 19, Saturday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time: Luke 8:4-15

Reflection: What do you usually do when you encounter the words of God? For example when you go to Holy Mass do you carefully listen to the readings most especially the gospel? Do you allow it to disturb your conscience? Do you allow it to carve a space in your heart that you think about it even if you’re already in your house?

Do you read your bible regularly and when you read it do you allow it transform you?  The bible is the words of God, He created it to transform us. God created it also for us know Him more, so that the God that is distant would now become the God who is with us and the God who walks with us.

The seeds that was sowed that Jesus mentions in the gospel are the very words of God. These words are very powerful it could transform our lives if we would allow it. It could create calmness and serenity within us if we would reflect on it.

But many of us are so busy that we hardly have time for these seeds that God so generously showers us. Many of us do not mind it anymore until we hit a roadblock in our lives. Thus we are reminded of God we instantly hurry to go to Him simply because we hit rock bottom.

But why wait for that roadblock to hit us before we allow the words of God to flourish and bear much fruit in our hearts? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2015/09/reflection-for-september-19-saturday-of.html

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JUST DO IT – … But the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved. – Luke 8:12

If you fear it, it’s because you can do it. That’s what I always tell my students whenever they tell me that they want to do something but are afraid to do so. Some of them want to dance, but they are too shy. Some of them want to sing, but they think their voice isn’t good enough.

I believe God puts these talents, dreams and desires in us so that we could use it to share His goodness and proclaim His glory to the world. But the devil doesn’t like it when we do God’s work.

Chances are, when God gives you a talent or the desire to learn a new skill, then tells you to use it for Him, the devil will do everything in his power to prevent you from doing it. He’ll use his favorite tactics — shame, fear, doubt, pride, and even false humility— so you won’t even take that first step towards God’s dreams for you.

Whatever talent we have been given, we have to share it, multiply it, and bless the world with it. You are blessed, talented and amazing. Do not let the devil convince you otherwise.Karren Renz Seña (karren.s@shepherdsvoice.com.ph)

Reflection: If you fear it, it’s because you can do it. What is it that you’ve been dreaming of doing? What’s stopping you from doing it?

Father in heaven, I pray that You bring to completion whatever good You have started in me. Protect me from the whims and cunning words of the enemy, so that I may continue to do whatever You ask of me, all for Your glory.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-09-19

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THE WORD BE WITH YOU! Not too long ago, I presided over the funeral of a very good friend. Ahead of the funeral rites, I was warned that among those in attendance will be non- Catholics and a Christian pastor who was a friend of the deceased. I made sure I delivered a Scripture-based sermon that time, making a conscious effort to even quote the Word of God by memory.

After the service, the pastor approached and thanked me for the “inspiring sermon.” During snacks, he asked many questions about Church structure and how Catholic priests do ministry. Then he told me something that made me uneasy: “It is very rare, Father, that I hear priests deliver sermons using the Scriptures, with chapters and verses to go with it.”

That encounter confirmed how the Christian world looks at Catholics. We have lost our identity as men and women of the Word. Catholics are no longer known to be people who soak themselves in the Word of God. Lest we forget, the Bible is a “Catholic” document. It was compiled by Catholics. The Canon of Scriptures was formalized by the Catholic Church. If there is anyone to be associated with the Bible, it should be Catholics.

In today’s parable of the sower, Jesus calls us the soil upon which the seed of the Word of God is sowed. Our vocation is to be filled with God’s Word. Read the Word of God. Pray the Word of God. Live the Word of God. Let us recover our identity as men and women of the Word. How?

Have a Bible. I feel like I’m stating the obvious, but the fact is, not all Catholics own a personal Bible.

Have a fixed time for Bible reading. Buy a Bible-reading guide and read the Scripture text of the day’s Mass.

Have a good Bible commentary. Register in the Bible study group in your parish. The Bible has a very rich and deep spiritual and intellectual history. Learning from those who are learned in the Word will greatly supplement personal reading and study. Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTION: Is Scripture reading an essential part of your daily activity?

Lord Jesus, You feed us with the Word and the sacraments. Rekindle our passion for knowing You in Your Word. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-09-17

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September 19, 2015

Saturday of the 14th Week in the Ordinary Time

1 Tim 6: 13-16; Lk 8: 4-15

Minority Affairs

Jesus is presenting the life of a farmer in the ‘parable of the sower.’ The farmer sowed the seeds. According to Jesus seventy five percentages of seeds are lost, and only twenty five percentage produced crop. For any farmer it is a sad story to lose three fourth of seeds. But for Jesus it is a success story where one fourth of seeds bore fruits. Because, Christianity is a ‘minority affair.’

Jesus never intended his disciples to grow in great multitudes. That is why he called them ‘my little flock’ in Lk 12:32. Jesus compared his disciples with ‘salt of the earth.’ The salt has to be in small quantity only. He wanted his disciples to be a ‘minority’ always. So he encouraged them to go without money, to carry neither bag nor walking staff (Mt 10:9-10). Because he knew that, from the ‘minority’ of five breads he can feed five thousand. Again Jesus preferred to be with minority when he went after the lost sheep leaving the ninety nine in the wilderness. So it is natural that Jesus is happy thinking of the fruitful 25% seeds than the spoiled 75.

In our life, we must never be disheartened to see the widespread evil in this world that spreads darkness around. If you open wide your eyes you will see brightening starts here and there like an Anna Hazare, a Medha Patkar, a Swami Sadanand (Fr. Michael cmi) and so on. Our vocation is to be one in this ‘minority.’ It needs ‘perseverance’ as Jesus points out in verse15. Perseverance, according to Webster’s Dictionary is a ‘condition of persisting in a state in spite of counterinfluences, opposition or discouragement.’

There need not be many light houses on the sea shore. One light house is sufficient to guide all the ships that stray in the deep sea. And I am called to be one. Remember Christianity is a ‘minority affair.’ Fr. Johnson Olakkenkil CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2015-09-19

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Friday, September 18, 2015

SATURDAY OF THE 24TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 8:4-15. UNSA MAN KITA KA MAAYO MAMINAW, ILABINA SA PULONG SA DIOS? Adunay mga tawo nga human maminaw, ipalusot dayon ang nadungog sa pikas nga dalunggan. Aduna puy uban nga maminaw dili aron makasabot kondili aron adunay ikatubag nga argumento. Aduna pa gyoy lain nga maminaw dili aron puy-an ang mensahe kondili aron gamiton ang mensahe ug ipasunod sa uban. Kini nga mga matang sa tigpaminaw mahisama sa yuta nga gahi, batoon ug tunokon, nga dili gyod maayo para sa mga liso nga gitanum. Ang Liso sa Pulong sa Dios manginahanglan og mga tigpaminaw nga abli sa bag-ong pagtulon-an, andam makat-on, masaligon ug dili laog sa kalibotanong mga butang. Ang mga tawo nga sama niini mahisama sa tambok nga yuta, diin ang Pulong sa Dios makaturok, molambo, ug makapamunga’g daghang kaayohan. Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/09/saturday-of-24th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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September 17, 2016

REFLECTION: In today’s gospel reading we hear Jesus telling the crowd the parable of the Sower and then explaining this parable privately to his disciples. According to him, there are four categories of people when it comes to listening to God’s word. The first three categories receive that word but do not bear fruit for various reasons. One of these is given as being “the riches and the pleasures of life.” Now how does this work out in many cases?

In the first place, let us be clear about one thing: there is nothing wrong with being rich or with enjoying life. A lot of people are excellent Christians, while being rich or while enjoying life. However, they will tell you that they have to be extra careful, especially with the use of their time, because when you have a lot of money, you tend to forget that God is more important than your millions, your stocks and bonds and your money investments. Likewise, when you spend a lot of time watching television or playing cards or drinking with your buddies. These things—all good things—tend to crowd out God from your life, if you let them. So, let us be vigilant in this area of money and pleasure.

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3644-september-17-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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