"They receive the word with joy, but they have no roots." Lk 8:13
People often speak about wanting to raise their children like trees with deep, strong roots and expansive branches that extend their shade to everyone in the world. It is a beautiful image, and one most of us would want to embrace and make our own, but it is not the only image Jesus offers us.
Jesus warns us that many receive the Word with joy, but because they have no roots, they are unable to survive when struggles come upon them. At times the trials are simple, but devastating. The loss of a job, a failure in school, or an upset with a close friend can shake us to our foundations. While we realize that these kinds of trials come to everyone, unless our roots are deep in faith, we will wither without the strength of God's presence.
In the United States these days, we are faced with what can seem like an overwhelming problem. Our children are not going to church. This is not to say that they are without faith, but the regular practice of our religious traditions, especially Sunday mass, is radically important for the health of our faith communities. Like every other plant or shrub, we need to help our young people get rooted in the soil of our parishes if we hope to sustain ourselves in the 21st century.
Today, ask for the gift of patience and endurance in your practice of faith.
Why do you think people don't have roots that can sustain them in faith?