|Many, if not all, of us spend a lot of time grumbling. God hears us. He demonstrated his compassion by hearing the grumbling of the Children of Israel as they roamed about the desert hungry and wondering if they were better off as slaves in Egypt. God responded to them by feeding them manna and partridge. It seems that even our miserable grumbling in our worst moments are heard as prayers by our compassionate God. There surely are better forms to formally address our God, but the elements of prayer often are in our deepest, darkest thoughts. “We are starving, miserable, and lost in the desert, Lord, we were better off as slaves.” There was not a note of supplication, or faith, in God, but God heard this as a prayer; he fed them manna and meat. God, in his mercy, will help us when we need it. He not only nourished them with “bread from heaven”, but he gave them hope. He made it possible for them to survive and multiply like good seed.
If you spend much time in the desert, you will appreciate the struggle that the wandering Children of Israel were enduring. The desert, the wilderness of Sin, on the Sinai Peninsula, was a scorched wasteland with few plants and only a few scattered tamarisk trees. The path through the desert was not direct; the people walked, sometimes on a redundant, serpentine route. While trudging through this terrain, it would have been easy for them to lose hope. God gave them “bread from heaven”; they persevered. God promised us the bread of life; he sent his son. We will persevere.
The alleluia, “the seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower; all who come to him will live forever,” summarizes the message that Jesus speaks to us in today’s gospel reading. Jesus is speaking from a fishing boat that is floating just off the shore in the Sea of Galilee. He spoke in words that resonated with the people; he spoke of seeds and sowing, good and bad soil, and invasive, strangling weeds. Success can be had if all goes well for the seeds. A happy and familiar ending for the seeds meant a good life for the people that he addressed. Jesus’ simple parable summarizes our own struggle to seek the best ground to nurture our faith. If we successfully avoid the weeds that we all live among, and spiritually dry and shallow places, we will thrive and produce fruit “a hundred-fold”. Seek the good earth, grow in the spirit, and praise God. We surely will produce in many ways. Our daily lives, those whom we influence or influence us, and our service to others will, in fact, provide the good soil that faith must have in order to flourish.