I love the out-of-doors and I like to keep our yard looking good. Of course my definition of looking good isn't a manicured lawn but rather a plot of wild flowers. In the same way our definition of Church here at Jesus Our Shepherd isn't identical to what the Official Roman Catholic Church defines as Church but we know that JOS is a Church which Jesus would join.

I love visiting farms and am amazed how technology has changed the method of farming much as technology has changed the business I was engaged in for over 40 years, manufacturing. Where we live, just North and East of here in Dundee and what is called the Holy Land, dairy farming is predominant. Dairy farming has come a long way since the days of hand milking 50 cows twice a day to today when dairy farming is a 24 hour a day operation in which in each farm over a thousand cows are milked multiple times a day.

The kind of farming Jesus had as his subject of his parable in today's Gospel was crop farming and that too has changed significantly over the years. In Jesus' time the seed would be scattered randomly and now of course the farmer prepares the land giving the seed which he will later plant the best chance to produce a good crop. Jesus was talking to primarily peasants who knew their type of farming so his parable was quite understandable to them and logically it can be to us as well in that the seed in Jesus' parable is his word, the word of the kingdom and you and I are the earth.

Technology in farming and manufacturing has changed but God's Word hasn't & doesn't..

When seed is put on a path or sidewalk it's not likely to grow. A parallel to that for us would be for you and me to hear or read God's word, don't understand it and don't work to gain an understanding. We don't grow in knowing God's truths. A seed sown on rocky ground is parallel to you and I having little foundation in which God's truths can take strong root, like believing all the faith foundation we need is that we received in our preparation for receiving Communion and Confirmation. Just like the seed on rocky ground we don't have sufficient base to stand tough in times of crises.

Parallel to seed being sown into thorns is our reception of the Word of God and abandoning it for love of the world, possessions, positions, being unforgiving, open to jealousy or unjust anger.

Of course, the ideal is to have seed fall on good ground and produce as Jesus says 100 or 60 or 30 fold. To openly and knowledgeably accept God's Word and conform our lives to it.

So what kind of soil are you? What kind of soil am I?

How do we respond to the Word of God and to the various acts of God in our lives?

Do we allow trials and tribulations of this world overwhelm the tender seed growing within us?

Do we pull back when people harass us because we are believers?

Do we decide that because things aren't working out the way we think they ought, God doesn't care for us or has abandoned us?

Do we allow the cares of this world, our ambitions and our desires for success and happiness choke out the messages God sends us through the various events and people in our daily lives? Or do we weed those things out of our life like I need to remove the dandelions and thistles from my wild flowers?

Just like the quality of my wild flowers, we have control of how we receive and respond to the Gospel message. We can change the kind of soil we are. God allows weeds, temptations to come into our lives, but he as well provides all we need to pull those weeds and accomplish great results, true happiness, true joy, in our lives. God is one extravagant being and all God asks of us is to, hear his word, talk and listen to him and have total trust. Is that too much to ask in thanksgiving for our gift of faith, and experiencing God's Kingdom here on earth and in heaven.

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