Planting The Good Seeds

My beautiful roses
Roses for the Blessed Mother Mary

My favorite rose bush was infested with a species of spider mites. It was an all-out war between Mike and the pests. At first he’d spray the roses with a repellent to stop the ongoing problem, but it was hopeless. This particular rose bush produces the most beautiful long-stemmed roses with a heavenly scent, but nothing was working and the spider mites were winning the battle. The roses were anemic and refused to bloom; their leaves were taken over by spider webs. The spider webs choked the life out of the stems, so the roses were slowly dying. Mike went to see a rose horticulturalist, who suggested more pesticides.

I had given in to the fact that we needed to pull out the dying bush, but Mike had a better idea. Mike took matters into his own hands and pruned the rose tree. I was in complete disagreement with this because pruning is done in February, not in September. But much to my surprise whatever Mike did worked; so I’m happy to announce that our beautiful rose bush is once again producing the most fragrant scented flowers. The reason I’m sharing this story is to encourage you to not give up on small projects; when you put your heart and soul into a task, you will see the fruits of your labor.

My rose bush story can be used as a metaphor. We are always going to deal with difficult situations in our lives. People who we know, perhaps even family members, continue to allow the spider mites to take over our lives. The webs become stronger and choke the life out of us. If we choose to stand close to them and hear them out, there is the chance that the spider mites might jump on you and hold you captive. In my metaphor the spider mites are ungodly spirits, waiting for the opportunity to bring you down, but you have the capability to cut those spirits off by avoiding those situations. Stay away from toxic people who bring you down. If they are family members, all that is left is prayer – a lot of prayer!

The Fig Tree

The fig tree is mentioned several times in the Bible. From the Old to the New Testament, the proverbial fig tree is present. It’s not a coincidence that God gave the Israelites the blessing of the fig tree. Today Israel’s fig trees produce two harvests: the first crop is around Passover and the second comes in September, in time for the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. In the Bible the fig tree is a metaphor for Israel; it symbolizes the strength or weakness of a nation. In the case of Israel, the fig tree symbolized both the physical and spiritual direction of this nation.

Our Fig Tree

We have an elderly fig tree on the side of our yard. During the summer months this tree gives us privacy from our neighbors. Every year the tree produces figs; some years the lazy branches give us an abundance of fruit. This year, for the first time, I harvested figs and made fig jelly. The gazillion golden seeds are more evident in the jelly when it’s processed.

Our family unwillingly shares the fig tree with indigenous birds, crows and sparrows that have wild, loud parties. Once the sun goes down, the rats come in for a midnight snack. The rats, along with the birds, create debris on the ground. By morning, the birds, and rats leave a mess. I liken it to wine and beer bottles scattered throughout the yard like the aftermath of a wild fig party. This mess must be cleaned up before the ant party arrives. Everything God blesses us with has to be nurtured and cared for – that’s part of the cycle of life.

The Seeds

What I find most fascinating about the fig tree is the number of seeds contained in just one fig. The seed is another metaphor for abundance. Jesus uses the parable of the sower scattering seed. When Jesus spoke this parable, He explained it to His disciples because His intention was planting the future Church hierarchically. Jesus had to make it clear to His disciples who they were and the importance of their contribution to the Church. This particular parable is clear and can be drawn from everyday life, but to the faithless they remain a mystery. In the case of the faithless, the seed has fallen on hard ground.

Good seed planted yields much fruit. If you plant a pumpkin, it will give you up to eight pumpkins. This is the law of nature; when you plant good seeds they keep on giving.

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