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Monday, September 22, 2008

Choked by Anxieties, Riches, Pleasures of Life

“As for the seed that fell among thorns, they are the ones who have heard [the word], but as they go along, they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit.” (Luke 8:14)

This Gospel reading that was heard at Mass a few days ago (9/20) is very alarming. It is so easy to get caught up in the anxieties and pleasures of life and I can’t help but wonder if most of us American Christians aren’t the “seed that fell among thorns”. I wonder sometimes if because we like our riches and pleasures of life, we tend to kind of skip over this message. In fact the message is not just for the rich (though ‘rich’ is such a relative term) but it can be applied to all who aspire to be rich. In 1 Timothy, 6:9-10 we read “Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.” Clearly, money or wealth in itself is not evil, but as we see here (and in numerous other places in scripture) it can pose a major threat to our faith, our dependence on Christ, and our ability to be used by God.
I noticed for the first time that unlike the other seeds that do not yield fruit in the parable of the sower, the seed among thorns does not die. Instead, it simply “fails to produce mature fruit.” It doesn’t even say that it fails to produce fruit, but whatever fruit it does produce is not mature. How many of us are just kind of surviving among the thorns of the world, not really fully living, but being choked by the anxieties, riches and pleasures around us? I know that this is not a popular message, but if we really take Jesus at his word, I can see no way around it. We must carefully reconsider how we live and if, when we are honest with ourselves, we are more citizens of God’s kingdom, or of this world. We must choose one. We cannot serve both God and mammon.

1 comment:

The Hickman Six said...

the Lord has clearly told Cana and I that we should rid ourselves of a lot of things throughout the past two years that were "choking us". Honestly, there is only one thing remaining, the television. We don't even use it that much, an occasional movie, kids shows, news, and sporting events, really. But, there is something about the comfort of the "choke" that is keeping me from getting rid of it.
There is safety in the weeds and thorns of the world. To live entirely dependent on God and not the world is dangerous.

Lord give us the grace to be dangerous!