3rd Week of Ordinary Time (30th January, 2019)
First Reading: Heb 10:11-18
Gospel: Mk 4:1-20
Today’s Gospel speaks of the Parable of Sower. It is a parable though easy for anyone to understand and follow, at the request of disciples, Jesus gives them the meaning of the parable too. What is amusing is that prior to explaining the parable, Jesus makes a statement: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand” (Mt 13:13). What is the meaning of this passage? Why is the heart o such people so hardened that despite seeing, they are not able to perceive and despite hearing, they are not able to understand? We know that heart is the seat of many emotions as well as capacities and faculties (mental, psychological, spiritual and even physical). It is from here there emerges desires, likeness, grief, understanding, love, hatred even faith and belief. Jesus says the heart is the source of good and even in one’s life. He says, “What comes out of our mouth; good or bad – begins in the heart (Lk 6:43-45).
In the Old Testament, we see in the case of Pharaoh how his heard was so hardened that despite the many works of God performed through Moses, he did not let Israelites go with their leader Moses. In the Gospel too, we find Jesus chiding the disciples for not being able to perceive and understand although the disciples had seen Jesus feed thousands only with a few loaves. Their hearts too were so hardened that they could not see, understand and remember.
What happened in the case of the King Pharaoh who upon seeing the wonder works relents but a little later his heart gets hardened that he falls back on his word. In the case of disciples who were glad to see Jesus performing miracle and cures but when the sea rages, the disciple fail to understand that it was Jesus walking on the sea. We too are tat times in the same boat. We rejoice upon the happy and joyful moments but when tide rises, storm beats us, crisis shatters our life, our hearts are filled with fear, concern, and doubt that we do not understand the mercy of God and fail to have trust in Him. Such are instances in our life to show that the shallow faith we have in Him. We need to trust in the Word of God, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” (Dt 31:6; Heb 13:5).
Another reason for hardening of heart is the ever accumulation of sins in our heart. The more and more contumacy we live in and unrepentant we become, we become neutral to sinful life. We lose the sense of good conscience and fear of God that such sins become way of life for us. Such blurred conscience will be called a sinful heart or hardened heart. To make sure a heart soft again, we need to have our conscience clear in the presence o God or else there will come a time when God will give us over to our stubborn mind and we live it on our own terms with no regard for the direction the Holy Spirit would give. In such situation, no good will appear good for us. We become akin to the situation described in today’s’ gospel, “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand”. Let us pray that we become conscious of our sinful nature and become more and more aware of the grace God gives us in our lives. Amen.