The Brier Patch

Reflections on Matthew 13: 1-23

 We have all heard this gospel passage many times in our lives and, each time, it serves as a reminder about the way we live and have lived our daily lives.

 I believe in the goodness of man. I believe that when left to his own devices, man and women would rather do good than evil.

I also believe that in that process of doing good, humans will seek to help one another much like a gardener tends to his/her plants and watches their growth.

As we grow older, we need to nurture our selves more. Now is the time that we should be taking better care of ourselves both mentally and physically.

Part of taking care of ourselves is reviewing the good patches of our lives. Taking stock of the good things that we did and, even more importantly, taking pride in them. It’s good for our souls and our psyches to feel good about the good that we have done.

When I was writing this, I thought of the memorial to Michael Jackson. Regardless of how strange he might have seemed, how different some people thought he was, his family sought to present the human side of Michael Jackson. They spent their time reviewing the good patches of his life and no matter what we thought, that’s the way it should have been

It’s equally important to put away those times that the seeds we tried to plant did not come to fruition. For most of us, the world did not always revolve the way we thought it would, there were actions taken and words spoken that maybe never should have been. But each of us have done our own form of atonement – as we grow older, continuing to atone may not a healthy thing.

We gather here because we are bound by our common belief system. We believe in the Lord God and we believe in all that his son, Jesus Christ, tried to teach us. That belief system has guided our lives and it governs our future. That belief system teaches us that the reward for living the good life is to know eternally the love and peace of His kingdom.

Our senior years need to be filled with the goodness that we have sown. Because by reflecting on the good that has been snowed, we are given greater resolve and we are given a greater taste of the peace that awaits us.

You know it has always amazed me that most of us don’t learn from great athletes. What does an athlete do in training? He or she spends the time eating the right foods, conditioning their bodies, engaging in the imagery of winning and constantly telling themselves that they can win, they can achieve, they can overcome.

Well as we age, shouldn’t the example of the athlete be even more relevant. Our bodies don’t quite function the way they used to — the foods we eat and the conditioning we do are even now more important. We also need to feed ourselves and remind ourselves that, more often than not, we were winners. It’s shown in the human accomplishments of our lives – in our children, in our friends, in the things that we left behind. Those should be moments of celebration and those celebrations should be the very stuff that fills our minds.

Listen again to the gospel words: “ What was sown among briers was . . . .” Even if we spent more of our lives among the briers rather than on good soil, that’s behind us.

What lies ahead is the opportunity to plant still one more time. But this time it’s a garden of only good memories. Those memories should not just be held on to but they should serve as the stuff that fills our inner beings and brings a smile to the beginning of each day. We deserve that because we have earned that from the good we have done.

What lies ahead for all of us in our senior years is the opportunity to let the good that we have done feed our daily lives. And as we grow from the seeds hat we have planted, we need to use that growth to develop an even closer relationship with our God. Now, more than ever, is to use that time to understand Scripture more, to understand what IS our relationship to God, to begin to think about what more we can do to bring our lives and our spirits in synch with Him.

Listen again: “To the man who has, more will be given until he grows rich.” Each of you is that man “who has and much has been given,” now is the time to grow rich in your knowledge of Him.


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