How do we listen to the Word of God? Do we listen and not understand and just accept that we are not meant to understand? Do we listen and think that’s a good story and then just get on with our lives, not allowing the Word of God to touch our souls? Do we half listen, distracted by what is going on in our lives, concentrating on our worries or thinking about how we can be more successful in life? Or do we listen, think about what we have heard, reflect upon how it affects us and then respond to what we have heard by living out God’s Word in our lives?

Today, Jesus is asking us to put down the newspaper, turn off the TV or computer and listen to Him. When we can listen with our ears, discern the Word of God with our minds and respond with our hearts then we are living fertile soil. Jesus is calling us to active listening, He wants us to get to know the person behind the words, He wants us to establish a relationship with him. Every relationship requires work. Having fertile soil today is no guarantee that we will always have fertile soil. Relationships, like soil need to be nourished, if a farmer leaves fertile soil to its own devices then it will soon be over-run by weeds and thorns and the harvest will reduce.

Equally, if we do not feel that we have a relationship with Jesus today, or that our relationship is not as close as we would like it to be, then we have a chance to clean up our act, remove the things in our lives which hamper our relationship with Jesus; these are the weeds; make a decision to leave our worries or thoughts of financial success outside of our relationship with Jesus; these are the thorns which suffocate the Word, making it harder for us to discern the Word of God.

By going to Confession, we can remove the stones, the weeds and thorns from our soul and bring new life to our relationship with Jesus. Jesus wants us, He died for every one of us. He calls us now and says to each of us ‘Listen, anyone who has ears.’

As Isaiah says in the first reading God does not want to waste a single word. Every word made known to man by God has a purpose. Just like every one of us has been put on earth with a specific purpose. God does not want the words He speaks to us to return to him empty. God wants every word to bear fruit.

How can we bear fruit here in North Hampshire today? What is God asking us to do? God wants us to tend our hearts and our minds to make them fertile ground to receive the seed which is His word. He wants us to continue to tend this fertile land and build up His Kingdom here on earth. Sharing the Love of God and the Peace of God with those we meet. So that they as our brothers and sisters will prepare their own hearts and minds in readiness to receive the Word of God.

Listen, anyone who has ears.

Deacon Tony Darroch, 10th July 2020.

If you are struggling to find resources or would like suggestions please email me on adarroch@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk or if you would appreciate the odd call from me during this time please send me a message with your contact details and I will get in touch.