Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, B.D., (24th January, 2018) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time (II))
Ps 88:4-5.27-30 (R. v.29);
Saint Francis de Sales (21st August, 1567 – 28th December, 1622) was born to a noble family at Chateau de Sales. His father destined him to be a lawyer and strongly opposed his desire to become a priest. He was later ordained and elected provost of the Diocese of Geneva. Francis set out to convert Calvinists by preaching and distributing the little pamphlets he wrote to explain true Catholic doctrine with remarkable success. He became bishop of Geneva at 35. While administering his diocese he continued to preach, hear confessions, and catechize the children. His gentle character was a great asset in winning souls. He practiced his own axiom, “A spoonful of honey attracts more flies than a barrelful of vinegar.” Besides his two well-known books, the Introduction to the Devout Life and A Treatise on the Love of God, he wrote many pamphlets and carried on a vast correspondence. He addressed his writings to lay people to make them understand that they too are called to be saints. He collaborated with Saint Jane Frances de Chantal in establishing the Sisters of the Visitation. Saint Francis de Sales is the patron of the Catholic Press.
Topic: Soil type and the harvest.
In today’s gospel, we see the parable of the sower, the purpose, and the meaning. While sowing the seed, some fell on the path, others on the rocky ground, some fell among the thorns, and others fell into good soil. Those that fell on the path were eaten up by the birds. And those on the rocky ground although they sprang up quickly but were scorched and withered before they could bear fruits, cf. Ps 129:6. The thorns grew up and choked the seed that fell among them. Finally, the seed that fell into the good soil “brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold”.
Jesus explained that the seed is the word of God. The seed that fell along the road refers to people Satan takes away the word of God immediately they hear it. Those on the rocky ground refers to those who receive the word with joy in whom it lasts just a while because they have no root. The word does not survive troubles and persecutions that arise on its account. And those who fell among the thorns refer to those in whom the word is choked by the cares of the world, the lure of wealth, and/or the desire for other things. Finally, those who fell into good soil refer to people in whom the word bears fruits.
Jesus told us, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you” (Jn 15:16). And in the letter of Saint James we also read, “rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls” (Jas 1:21).
If then anyone wants to bear fruits, he/she must prepare his/her soul for God’s word. If one fails to prepare for the word, it will certainly fall either on the path or on rocky ground or among the thorns. And we know that none of the seeds that fell on any of these places was able to bear fruit. Chose what you want and work towards that.
Bible Reading: Jas 1:19-27.
Thought for today: The word can only be fruitful in good soil.
Let us pray: Lord, we have been fallow for various reasons. We ask you to make us the best of soil for your word – Amen.
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