27 Jan Mark 4:3-4 (HARDPAN)
A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Mark 4: 3-4 (full readings)
Living Faith snippets: “In the parable of the sower, Jesus seems to be referring to his own preaching. Some of the seed, he says, falls on the footpath, that is, on the hardpan, the path that goes through the field but has no give, no flexibility, and is almost as hard as concrete…” by Fr. Thomas Keeting, O.C.S.O
Steve’s Thoughts: I have always been enamored by this parable and how keenly it pokes at the human condition. Our reflection today focuses on one element of that parable, but an important one. Fr. Keeting points to the “hardpan’ or that area of the field that has “no give, no flexibility.” I couldn’t help but think of my own heart and it’s hardness at times. The times when I have lacked the generosity to give of myself to my wife, my children and my faith community around me. That is the “hardpan” in my own life. It is when my own selfishness becomes a barricade around my heart and prevents me from entering more deeply into the lives of those around me. For that I know that I am all the poorer. Lord, help me to respond generously to your word and your call to live a life of faith; when I feel that twinge to say a kind word or do a kind deed, please give me the generosity to respond.
Faith Challenges: Let’s generously share the LIFE Group by forwarding a devotion to others or by using the Facebook Group “invite people to join” link to invite your friends. Steve, Rich, or Pat will gladly add others to the email list.
* NEW: Take some time today to be conscious of those around you and their needs – strive to do one thing in service to your neighbor like St. Angela Merici (see Feast Day).
Counter-Culture News: LifeSiteNews, Vatican, American Family Association, Priests for Life
* Let’s never forget the horrific reality of abortion (images), #1 cause of death in America (23% of pregnancies). Let’s courageously share ProLife Truth to create social tension for exposing abortion’s unjust peace, rebuilding a Culture of Life for setting the unborn (and parents) free!
Our Prayers: Those who pray together stay together. Fasting ideas in footnote below.
* Prayer to end abortion, abused children, chastity, peace, our enemies, our troops, depression/despair, prisoners, politicians, illnesses/injuries, jobs, natural disasters, refugees, addictions, persecuted believers, Peters family (JP, Rebekah), Health care reform (protect the unborn), Haitian earthquake victims, Chris Wyckoff (for family during his deployment).
* NEW: Carol Nesbitt (for Nancy Wheeler who passed away…former speech/drama teacher…her patience and encouraging words changed many lives for the better!)
Feast Day: St. Angela Merici “In Her Footsteps: Take a look around you. Instead of just driving or walking without paying attention today, open your eyes to the needs you see along the way. What people do you notice who need help but who are not being helped? What are their true needs? Make a commitment to help them in some way.” ~ taken from a reflection on St. Angela’s life.
Faith Quote: “The parables are earthquakes shaking the ground from under our presuppositions and prepackaged values in order that a few cracks in the sidewalk (hardpan) might appear, enabling some of the seed to fall in between the cracks and produce at least a few weeds.” ~ Fr. Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O
Through Christ our Lord,
* Prayer: Prayer connects us with God’s will & His miracles, changing us & helping others. ‘If you pray that God will move a mountain and He doesn’t, assume Christ wants you to climb it instead.
* Fasting: Let’s fast from things that take our eyes off Jesus (selfishness, pornography, bitterness, criticalness, impatience, gossip, excessive video games, etc) and take on things that fix our eyes on Jesus (selflessness, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, patience, understanding, caring, helping, listening).
* Defend the unborn: ‘Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; don’t stand back and let them die’ (Prov 24:11). ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you’ (Jer 1:5). ‘It is a great poverty that a child must die that you might live as you wish’ (Blessed Mother Teresa).
* Evangelization: Let’s make room for unbelievers (be a friend, make a friend, lead a friend to Christ) and perpetual re-evangelization of self and those near us, by way of daily prayer (relationship) and following Christ’s example of selfless love, mercy, and service (Matt 28:19).