How to maintain a welcoming and nurturing heart


July 24, 2020 – Friday of the 16th Week in Ordinary Time

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How recipient am I of God and of His invitations? How welcoming and nurturing is my heart for God?

The parable of the sower speaks to us of the different attitudes of human hearts in welcoming and accepting God and God’s living word in us. This was portrayed on how the seeds fell into the different parts of the field.

Certainly, from this parable, this tell us too that we are God’s field. As a field where the seeds are planted, God desires that we become fruitful by allowing what God has planted in us to grow.

As God’s field, how do we make ourselves a rich soil then, good for planting and growing? How do we also maintain a welcoming and nurturing heart?

As in real planting, the soil should be filled with what is natural and organic, with real soil. When our field is filled with rocks, plastics and dangerous chemicals then it would not be good for plants to grow. We have to take away the rocks and plastics that may hinder the growth of the seeds, and the dangerous chemicals that may poison the plants.

Thus, our heart can also be filled with our pretensions, our masks and our self-serving attitudes that serve rocks and plastics in the field that will hinder our faith to grow and mature. Our heart can also be filled with anxieties, excessive attachments to things, uncontrollable desires and addictions. These surely are dangerous chemicals that will poison our hearts. These lead us away from God and away from others and even away from our true selves.

For us to have a welcoming and nurturing heart, we need to empty ourselves from our insecurities and anger, from hate and aggression. Without these, then we can be filled with love, with forgiveness, with faith and hope, with compassion and mercy, with tenderness and peace.

Moreover, we can only accommodate God and others when we are not filled with ourselves. Yes, when we are filled with ourselves, with our arrogance and pride, with our bitterness and guilt, then, we won’t be able to welcome and give space for God and for his invitations to grow and bear fruit in our hearts. In the same way, we will not be able to welcome others to take part in our life.

Thus, the invitation for us today is to seek understanding and wisdom from God that we may be able to recognize the way God is leading us today. To seek understanding will help us to take away at least two poisonous tendencies of our heart.

First, is our tendency to accept what we only like to believe. This is a tendency that only seeks comfort and does not want to be challenged. Such tendency in us will make us dismissive of the Word of God that gives discomfort.

Second, is our tendency to believe to what is only beneficial for the sake of our personal interest. This tendency expresses aggression when confronted with the truth. Such tendency will also make us narrow-minded because it is fixed to what is only good for our sake.

However, such attitudes of the heart make us stagnant. This is not what God wants us. God desires always that we become individuals and a community that bears fruit for others and that we will be able to share and give life.

Therefore, to seek understanding from God is to constantly challenge our hearts and confront our selfish desires. To be able to maintain a rich soil then, is to receive the word of God organically, without any color from our selfish intentions and self-serving interests. In this way, we could make our heart welcoming and nurturing, not for our sake, but for our community. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR


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