I love to garden! When I married Jim Dyc almost twenty years ago we bought a house in Livonia—my very first one to own at 45 years of age! There is something so positive and satisfying about owning our own home: having the responsibility and care of property for our good, our neighbors’ good, and the good of our Community. I started creating gardens in our back (and front) yard—a wide open canvas—and have continued to discover what works, what I like to see, how this life in my hands responds to my caretaking.
I learned a lot over the years from friends, books, the internet and especially by trial and error outside. I learned to be patient with my “product” and to trust in the inherent beauty of life. I learned also that it can be a very physical undertaking—so there is an element of working out: stretching, bending, getting up and down from the ground, carrying weights (heavy pots, soil, rocks and border bricks). I learned that it is generally quiet; a time to think, wonder, worry and pray—and that the outside—God’s lovely Creation—does that for us. We are part of it and it is a part of us. (I actually cry when I see big trees being cut down...)
One of the things I learned about working in my little patch of soil: the roots are the most important (and first) element for a healthy plant. Deep roots offer stability, strength and abundant nourishment. They are an anchor in the midst of any storm. Today all of the Scripture (this Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time) speak of sowing seeds, of rain, of the fertility of soil and the fruitfulness/first fruits—all a paradigm for us about the Word being rooted in our hearts and minds; the growth of our spiritual lives; and the fruits of that planting and growth.
So I ask all of us today: does our faith have deep roots? Are we fertile soil in which the Word has been planted?
Jesus reminds us today that the “seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the Word and understands it…” He tells us that this will be a person who “indeed bears fruit and yields” an abundance to the people around them—but that our garden lives must have deep roots planted in the Word and in faith. He asks us to open the eyes of our hearts and the ears of our spirits to hear His message of love, mercy and forgiveness for all people and all Creation. If we are rooted in His message, then all we do and say will be a reflection of Christ. Rooted in His Word we will bear the fruits of justice, charity, kindness, respect and compassion for all living things. (An Eden for all!)
There is a hymn text (refrain) that says: “So the Word came to the world, so the Word came to stretch His arms and die for the world. As He loved, so we live─to sow the Word.” Conversion and action will make us the fertile ground our faith calls us to be. We are called as believers to go out and sow the Word in our actions of love. But first we must open our eyes and ears to check our roots: that they are well placed, grounded in the good soil of a faith Community; nourished by the Word and Eucharist; strengthened and anchored by prayer. Time to get busy in our spiritual gardens…
Keep singing in your hearts and minds!