"They will look intently and not see, listen carefully and not understand, lest perhaps they repent and be forgiven." —Mark 4:12
When the seed of God's word falls on the footpath, it bears no fruit (Mk 4:4). We are a footpath either when we have not received a new nature in baptism or when, though baptized, we refuse to repent of our sin.
When God's word falls on rocky ground, it bears no fruit although initially accepted (Mk 4:5). We become rocky ground when we disdain the discipline of the Lord (Heb 12:5).
When God's word falls among thorns, it bears no fruit although it is rooted (Mk 4:7). We become thorny when we choose our pleasure over God's love. We become unfruitful ground when we choose self over God. We refuse to receive or live a new life because we sin by not denying ourselves (Lk 9:23). We disdain the Lord's discipline because we want to do our own thing. We make pleasure our priority because we are focused on self. Selfish people are hard, unfruitful persons. Selfish people have tried to gain their lives and have ended up losing them (Lk 9:24). Selfish people have cut themselves off from God by trying to be gods. Selfish people repeat the first sin and thereby expel themselves from paradise and exclude themselves from the promised land.
A self-centered life will never fit into heaven. The only place for it is hell. Deny self or you will deny eternal life and divine love.
Prayer: Father, may I love myself (see Lk 10:27) and deny myself because I love You more than I love me.
Promise: "Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever." —2 Sm 7:16
Praise: St. Angela's selfless love led her to be involved with a religious order at age fifteen.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Am I Going to Heaven? on audio AV 54-3 or video V-54.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 4, 2009
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