By Brian Moore
DURING Lent the Church invites us all as Christians to come out of the wilderness to be fruitful, to see, to hear and to proclaim the Good News.
In the Parable of the Sower, in Matthew 13:7-9, Jesus focused on the hearer, telling us that in the act of scattering the seed, some fell on unsuitable soil and withered.
The seed that fell on rich soil grew and produced an abundance of fruit.
God’s Word heard by people who are willing to accept it will also bear an abundance of fruit.
There are different ways of accepting God’s Word that produce different kinds of fruit accordingly.
There is the hearer who has a closed mind and is blind to what they do not want to hear.
Then there is the shallow hearer who lacks depth and fails to think things through.
At first they respond with an interested emotional reaction; but when it wears off, their minds drift on to something else.
Then there is the other type of hearer who has many interests or cares, but lacks the ability or the will to hear or comprehend what is truly important.
They are too busy working and feel too tired to even think about praying, studying and meditating on God’s Word.
Finally there is the hearer who has an open mind and is willing to listen and learn at all times.
They are never too proud or too busy to learn.
They listen in order to understand that God gives grace to those who hunger for His Word so that they may do His will and have the strength to live according to it.
Remember that God’s primary way of reaching people is through people like us.
We as Christians are called to be faithful to the task of proclaiming God’s Word and have faith that those words will find rich soil and produce an abundance of fruit.
As Christians, God has given us a wonderful opportunity to evangelise, plant the seed and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
From my many years of experience in the Ambulance Service and the St Vincent de Paul Society I perceived that many people were spiritually empty, looking for inner security.
I sadly felt that they had an emptiness that only Jesus Christ could fill.
I also found that many people, rich or poor, were lonely.
Many really appeared to have little or no knowledge of Jesus Christ and were lonely for His companionship.
When you think about it, people can only come so close to each other.
I recently read that the great physicist Albert Einstein once wrote to a friend, “It is strange to be known so universally and yet be so lonely”.
So let us reflect on the following line, realise “that only Jesus Christ can really come, dwell and make His home within in us”.
Some people I came across said they were afraid to die and expressed a feeling of guilt for something they had done in the past and were worried that God would never forgive them.
They appeared to have no concept that Jesus is a loving merciful God and all that they had to do was to confess their sins and repent.
On a number of occasions when people had only a short time to live, they asked me to pray for them or would I be kind enough to call a priest to come and visit them.
I was happy to find out later that when the priest had visited the people concerned they had made their peace with God.
In the Good News we observe that, regardless of all the wrong things that we have done, God did the ultimate for us. (Romans 5:6).
“For when we were still helpless, Christ was crucified on the cross for the ungodly at the time that God chose.”
Today in this ever-increasing secular world the natural tendency of every Christian is to divide their lives into multiple pieces.
We have our personal, family, career, Church, friends and civic roles.
With this mindset comes the danger of segmentation between the secular and the sacred parts of our lives.
Many people in this world are listening to many voices that say there is no God, live life and be merry and, so on.
Pilate heard many voices on Good Friday, including his wife’s and the voice of many screaming “Crucify Him”.
He also heard the voice of his own conscious telling him to release Jesus.
Sadly he listened to the wrong voice and hardened his heart to the voice of God and made the wrong decision.
Jesus’ life shows us that prayer always extends to our neighbour; it pushes us to notice the divine spark in all of God’s children, to show love without reservation.
It is this love that bears much fruit for the Kingdom.
In prayer, we experience God’s love.
In our response, we humbly return that love.
And, if we have ears to hear, God always pushes us to go deeper.
I recently read, “if you wait until you can do something for everybody instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing anything for anybody”.
This Lent let0 us resolve to come out of the wilderness and to go out on a limb, because that is where the fruit is.
I conclude with the following prayer.
“Lord, faith in Your Word is the way to wisdom, and to ponder your divine plan is to grow in the truth. Open our eyes to your deeds, and our ears to the sound of your call, that we may understand your will for our lives and live according to it.”
Brian Moore is the former state president of the St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland