Vatican City (AsiaNews) – During the Angelus before 30,000 people in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said that Jesus "invites us today to look inward: to be thankful for our good soil and work on the ground not yet good," reclaiming the "rocky" and "thorny" soil in which "the idols of worldly riches" do not allow the Word to germinate in us and bear fruit.
The pope took his inspiration from the parable of the sower, (cf. Mt 13:1-2), in today’s Gospel, in which Jesus uses a simple language "as well as images that were an example of everyday life so that he could be easily understood by everyone."
"This is why they listened willingly and appreciated his message that went straight to the heart. It was not the complicated language used by the Doctors of the Law of the time, which was not well understood, and was rigid and pushed people away. With this language Jesus made people understand the mystery of the Kingdom of God. It was not a complicated theology."
"Today's Gospel,” the pontiff said’ “is the celebrated parable of the sower. Jesus is the sower. Let us note that with this image, he presents himself as one who does not impose, but proposes. He does not draw us by conquering us but by giving himself to us. With patience and generosity, he spreads his Word, which is not a cage or a trap, but a seed that can bear fruit. How? By welcoming him. Therefore, the parable concerns us above all. It speaks of the soil more than of the sower. Jesus performs, so to speak, a 'spiritual x-ray of our heart, which is the ground on which the seed of the Word drops. Our heart, like the soil, can be good and then the Word brings fruit, but it can also be hard, impenetrable. This happens when we hear the Word, but it bounces off us, just like on a road."
"Between the good ground and the road there are however two intermediate grounds that we, in various ways, can have in ourselves. The first is the rocky ground. Let us imagine it: a rocky ground has “little soil” (see v. 5), so that when the seed germinates, it cannot put deep roots. This is the superficial heart that welcomes the Lord, wants to pray, love and bear witness, but does not persevere, gets tired, and never ‘takes off’. This heart has no depth, where the rocks of idleness prevail over the good soil, where love is unsteady and fleeting. Whoever receives the Lord only when he likes it does not bear fruit.“
“There is then the last ground, the thorny one, full of brambles that suffocate the good plants. What do these brambles represent? The ‘worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit’ (v. 22), Jesus says. The brambles are the vices that clash with God, that stifle his presence: first of all, the idols of worldly riches, living greedily for oneself, for possession for power. If we nurture these brambles, we choke God’s growth in us. Everyone can recognise his or her big or small brambles, the vices that inhabit our heart, those more or less rooted shrubs that God does not like and prevent us from having a clean heart. We must tear them away; otherwise the Word will not bear fruit."
"Dear brothers and sisters, Jesus invites us today to look inward: to be thankful for our good soil and work on the ground not yet good. Let us ask ourselves if our heart is open to accept faithfully the seed of the Word of God. Let us ask ourselves if the rocks of idleness are still numerous and big. Let us identify and call by name the brambles of vices. Let us find the courage to clean properly the ground, bringing our rocks and brambles to the Lord in confession and in prayer. In doing so, Jesus, as a good sower, will be happy to do extra work: purify our heart by removing the rocks and thorns that stifle His Word. May the Mother of God – whom we remember today with the title of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel, unsurpassed in welcoming the Word of God and putting it into practice (cf. Lk 8:21) – help us purify our hearts and preserve the presence of the Lord."