Read Exodus 16:1-5,9-15, Ps. 78:18-19,23-28, Matthew 13:1-9

“Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (Matthew 13:8)

Today, we remember Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Virgin Mary. There are no mentions of them in the Bible or Gospels. We can certainly agree that Mary had parents. Likewise, we can agree that Mary had good, faithful parents who raised her with love and devotion to God.

Applying today’s Gospel passage to the concept of parenthood, we can interpret the parable of the sower in this way: The soil represents the parents. While some parents provide a nurturing ground for their children to blossom, others are like rocky, thorny or roadside paths. Not minding the “nature-nurture argument”, we can never underestimate the importance of proper upbringing.

Let us bear in mind that our role as parents is to cultivate and constantly manure good soils in the heart of our children so that God can work mightily through them. A child who is well brought up is the glory of his parents. If, as parents, we encourage our children to commit malpractice in examinations, how do we make them understand that kidnapping, terrorism, prostitution, bribery, armed robbery, telling of lies, certificate forgery and so on are evil?

Some parents are like rocky soil; they make their children attend Church but lack moral depth. They show their children bad examples, making them think “church” is just a social gathering. Some parents act like thorny soil; they see their children as money-making machines (investments). They either force them into early marriages or order them to start contributing financially to the family when these children do not have any legal means of income.

On the other hand, some parents bring up their children to believe they can always get what they want, thereby developing an entitlement mentality. Like the children of Israel on their way to the Promised Land, some children do not understand the concept of delayed gratification. They want it now. Their anthem is NOW, NOW, NOW. And when they don’t get it, they complain, throw tantrums, get depressed, and attempt suicide.

Raising children is a mystery. Sometimes, your best efforts as parents may yield negative results. There is no formula for raising children; it is just God’s grace and goodwill from parents. As we remember Saints Joachim and Anne today, let us pray for all parents worldwide that God will work through them to bless our world with good children.

The murmurings of the children of Israel showed the depths of their lack of appreciation for God. They forgot that God was leading them somewhere and that all they needed to do was endure for a while. While we could blame them for not trusting God after crossing the Red Sea on foot, let us look inwards. Can I say God has not done anything for me? Do I trust God enough to continue praising Him even when I face hard times? Do I understand that life happens in seasons and stages? Do I have the gift of patience? Or do I lose my temper at every slight provocation?

Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, bless our parents with wisdom, patience, and every virtue needed to be good soils to our children. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Bible Study: Exodus 16:1-5,9-15, Ps. 78:18-19,23-28, Matthew 13:1-9).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu