By Sister Val Leibel, SSND
This fall many gifts of fresh produce appeared in our entry or lounge:
carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, tomatoes, corn, etc. Sometimes we didn’t
even know who the donor was. In May, just a few short months ago, these
vegetables were just seeds of promise. Then with careful gardening and
favourable weather, voila! Full-grown veggies enough to share. We at
Heritage Manor are most grateful for every thoughtful gift. Obviously
the seed was good, the soil rich and rightly tended. The seed of promise
produced a good harvest.
Jesus loved to tell parables of seeds and harvests. In each of the synoptic
gospels he tells the story of the sower who went out to sow his seed
(see Matthew 13:3ff. Mark 4:14ff, Luke 8:5ff). Jesus explains this parable.
The seed is the Word of God, the Good News of salvation. The minds and
hearts of listening people, our minds and hearts, are the soil that receives
the seed. This seed is always full of possibility, good seed, only the
best and most promising. What kind of harvest this seed will produce
depends on how rich and fertile the soil of our minds, hearts and souls.
Perhaps I read the Word of God daily, and take it to heart. And every
Sunday we hear the Word proclaimed and explained. I may decide to receive
it as meant for me and mull over it so I can make it part of my life.
Or at least this is what I intend to do. Sometimes by the time I get
home to my everyday life, the busyness and distractions may have already
taken it away, like the devil in the explained parable.
Or I listen to the Word and receive it with joy. It is just what I needed
to hear to better my life. Then as the week progresses I am so taken
up with all the happenings and distractions it may soon be forgotten,
like thorns that choke the life out of the sprouting seed.
I might be so happy to receive God’s Word because
it is exactly what I need at this time in my life. I am as careful to
tend this seed as I am with my garden. I tend it with prayer, water and
prune it with well-disciplined life, and fertilize it with deeds of kindness
and sharing with others. When I fail and find a weed or two, I pull them
out with acts of sorrow, asking for forgiveness.
The Sower, Jesus Christ, is the true Gardener of our souls. We are but his helpers, his servants of the Word to keep it growing and spreading like well-tended vines. We help it spread to our families, our neighbourhood, our town and beyond. When the harvest is ready at the end of our life, may it be a great harvest, the hundredfold that Jesus speaks about in his parable. Then may each of us hear the welcoming words: “Come, you are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you.”
Leibel is a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and lives in Unity, Sask. She is a teacher in the area of religious studies with a BA in English and philosophy and a masters in religious education.