As the people of Cuba and the United States await the arrival of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, we pray for his safety and health during his days in our midst. We pray that hearts and minds may be open to receive his instructions, and no doubt, at times, a challenging message.
Today’s Gospel recalls the famous teaching of Jesus regarding the sower. (Luke 8:4-15) Jesus tells his disciples that the seed sown is the Word of God. The parable speaks plainly that the Word does not always fall on rich soil. However, God in his providential abundance sows the seed in every human heart!
For various reasons, the Word of God fails to yield fruit. For some, the Devil comes and takes away the Word “that they may not believe and be saved.” Others receive the Word initially with joy, but having no root of faith, fall away in times of temptation. Finally, others lose their focus on the Word, distracted by the anxieties and pleasures of this world, and fail to produce mature fruit.
In these days that the Successor of Peter comes to the Americas to till and keep the soul of this portion of God’s People, as well as the soul of our culture. As every good pastor, he comes to tend to our ability to receive God’s Word and to enter more fully into the joy of Jesus Christ and his Kingdom.
Tilling and keeping is hard work. May Pope Francis know the support of our prayers, and especially the strength of the Good Shepherd and his Holy Spirit. May the hearts of all be open to hear his teaching, encouragement, and challenge to conversion. Through Pope Francis, who comes in the name of the Lord, (Psalm 118:26) may his preaching, and the Word of God, find a rich soil in us that produces mature and abundant fruit.