Posted by: frburke23 | July 23, 2015

Thought for Friday, 16th Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 13:18-23

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Hear the parable of the sower.
The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the Kingdom
without understanding it,
and the Evil One comes and steals away
what was sown in his heart.
The seed sown on rocky ground
is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.
But he has no root and lasts only for a time.
When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
he immediately falls away.
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word,
but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word
and it bears no fruit.
But the seed sown on rich soil
is the one who hears the word and understands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”


Every year my Dad and my uncle plant a large vegetable garden in their back yards.  They grow tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, onions and more.   A few years ago, they helped me plant a small garden in my back yard.  I love fresh vegetables right out of the garden and I love to watch things grow.  It was a small and simple garden, but it took regular care – water, weeding, pruning, etc.

However, with my busy schedule I found that caring for the garden was much more difficult than I originally had thought.  I did the watering since it only took a few minutes each day.  However, I did not invest the time to pull the weeds.  And it was amazing how quickly those weeds sprouted!  So when I was a little careless with the garden, the weeds sprouted and choke the growth of the vegetables.

The same is true in our spiritual life.  If we are not vigilant in our prayer and study, quickly weeds of pride, laziness and sinfulness can grow and choke our spiritual life.  Without even realizing it, we can fade away from the Lord.  Sometimes it seems hard to recover from how far we have strayed.  Fortunately, we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation to unite once again with the Lord.

Is the soil of my heart fertile to receive the Word of God through prayer and study?

Am I vigilant with my spiritual life in the same way I am vigilant with my email, cell phone and TV programs?

How much time do I invest daily in my relationship with Christ?

Lord, there are so many distractions in life.  There are so many obstacles offered by this world to keep me from growing in my relationship with you.  I want only you.  My deepest desire is to be fertile ground for you so that I can spread your Word to all I meet.  Protect me from falling away.  Keep me vigilant.  Give me the desire for you alone.  Help me to be a saint!

Have a blessed day,

Fr. Burke  

The Spanish translation:

Mateo 13:18-23

En aquel tiempo, Jesús dijo a sus discípulos: “Escuchen ustedes lo que significa la parábola del sembrador. A todo hombre que oye la palabra del Reino y no la entiende, le llega el diablo y le arrebata lo sembrado en su corazón. Esto es lo que significan los granos que cayeron a lo largo del camino.

Lo sembrado sobre terreno pedregoso significa al que oye la palabra y la acepta inmediatamente con alegría; pero, como es inconstante, no la deja echar raíces, y apenas le viene una tribulación o una persecución por causa de la palabra, sucumbe.

Lo sembrado entre los espinos representa a aquel que oye la palabra, pero las preocupaciones de la vida y la seducción de las riquezas, la sofocan y queda sin fruto.

En cambio, lo sembrado en tierra buena, representa a quienes oyen la palabra, la entienden y dan fruto; unos, el ciento por uno; otros, el sesenta; y otros, el treinta”.


Cada año, mi papá y mi tío plantan un gran huerto en sus patios traseros. Cultivan tomates, papas, pimientos, pepinos, lechuga, cebolla y más. Hace algunos años, me ayudaron a plantar un pequeño jardín en mi patio trasero. Me encantan las verduras frescas directamente del jardín y me encanta ver las cosas crecer. Era un jardín pequeño y sencillo, pero tomó cuidado regular – agua, deshierbar, podar, etc.

Sin embargo, con mi apretada agenda encontré que cuidar del jardín era mucho más difícil de lo que originalmente había pensado. Hice el riego ya que sólo tomaba unos minutos cada día. Sin embargo, no invertí el tiempo para arrancar las hierbas malas. ¡Y fue increíble que tan rápido brotaban esas malas hierbas! Así que cuando yo era un poco descuidado con el jardín, las hierbas malas brotaban y ahogaban el crecimiento de los vegetales.

Lo mismo ocurre en nuestra vida espiritual. Si no estamos vigilantes en nuestra oración y estudio, las malas hierbas de orgullo, pereza y pecado pueden crecer rápidamente y ahogar nuestra vida espiritual. Sin siquiera darnos cuenta, podemos desvanecernos del Señor. A veces parece difícil recuperarnos de lo lejos que nos hemos extraviado. Afortunadamente, tenemos el Sacramento de la Reconciliación para unirnos una vez más al Señor.

¿Es la tierra de mi corazón fértil para recibir la Palabra de Dios a través de la oración y el estudio?
¿Soy vigilante con mi vida espiritual de la misma manera que soy vigilante con mi dirección de correo electrónico, teléfono celular y programas de televisión?
¿Cuánto tiempo invierto diariamente en mi relación con Cristo?

Señor, hay muchas distracciones en la vida. Hay tantos obstáculos que este mundo ofrece para que deje de crecer en mi relación contigo. Solo te quiero a ti. Mi deseo más profundo es ser tierra fértil para ti para que yo pueda difundir tu Palabra a todos los que conozco. Protégeme para no caer. Mantenme vigilante. Dame el deseo solo para ti. ¡Ayúdame a ser un santo!

Tengan un día bendecido,

Padre Burke



  1. Thanks Fr. Burke….perfect timing post these past few days. Would of been great to have a camp like that back in the day.

    Really really perfect timing.

    Been Blessed

    God Bless,

  2. Dear Father Masters,

    Thank you for your priesthood and your diligent work to spread the love of Christ. I look forward to your daily thoughts and pray that I remain open to God’s truth in all my ways each day.

    This task is particularly vital in my role as the middle school religion teacher for our local Catholic school on Hilton Head Island, St.Francis Catholic School. I teach religion to grades 3,6,7, and 8.

    My husband and I have four children – 2 boys and 2 girls. Our 13 year old boy, Samuel David, has played baseball since he was four. He just finished his summer All-Star season. Our school has just formed a baseball team and this coming year will be our second season. Due to our small student body, most all the boys participate in the basketball/baseball programs.

    I would love to have you come visit with us this school year and give a retreat for our middle school students. There are about 60-70 middle school kids. I am particularly wanting to host a special retreat/speaker for our 8th grade Confirmation candidates, too. In general, our school population of students, staff, and parents would benefit from your Catechesis.

    Could you guide me about your availability for a retreat/speaking engagement for our school community? Thank you so much Father.

    God Bless You, Sarah Rougeux 843-422-3332 St. Francis Catholic School Hilton Head Island, SC >

    • Sarah, thanks for your note and invitation. Right now my schedule is pretty full with the work here in the diocese and doing parish missions, men’s conferences, etc. I would love to come to your area and maybe speak to a few different groups, but I probably could not do anything until the fall of 2016.

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