The First Reading continues to call faithless children to return. God wants them to know he is their Master who will taken them when they repent. This is what God meant when he said this: I will bring you to Zion, I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. When we return to the Lord, there will be restoration and healing because God will send shepherds who will feed us knowledge and understanding, not of the human kind, but knowledge of God and understanding of his will. The First Reading ends with: they shall no longer stubbornly follow their own evil ways. The more we know the Lord, the more we will reject our evil ways and run closer to him. When we do, the Psalm tells us: the Lord will guard us like a shepherd guarding his flock. We are assured of God’s protection when we turn back to him because we will know him and understand his ways.
In the Gospel today, Jesus explains the parable of the seed, where it fell and what the result is. Notice that the seed that fell on the path was taken by the evil one because the person heard the word but did not understand the word. The last one that bore much fruit heard the word and understood it. All the seeds heard the word but only one bore fruit, because only one understood the word. This understanding is not an understanding of Scripture, but comes from knowing God. When we know God, we will understand why we need to obey him. We may not understand what he says, but we will know what he wants. This is what true repentance is.
St Sharbel was a Lebanese and belonged to the Maronite rite of the Catholic Church. He entered the Monastery and later became a monk and then a hermit. As a hermit, he always kept his head down and would lift his eyes only to heaven. He was also devoted to the Eucharist. His life was fully devoted to literally looking at God alone. Not everyone is called to be a hermit since most of us have responsibilities to carry out. But all of us are called to devote ourselves to God alone. When we repent, this should be our only goal: to devote ourselves to God alone. We seek God, we cling to God so like the seed that fell on good soil, we can bear fruit in abundance.
Lord Jesus, you call me to return to you. You always call me to yourself. Let me hear your word so I can know you and understand your Father’s will. Let me devote myself to you, for the glory of your Father’s name. St Sharbel, pray for us, that we may only look at the face of God and be attracted only by the beauty of our Lord.