“Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?”

That question is often asked by evangelical Christian preachers. During their services they encourage those in the congregation to make a decision for Christ.

Christians who have responded to such an invitation are often able to tell you the date, time, and place when it happened.

While making such a decision is certainly a wonderful thing, a choice for Christ cannot happen just once. Deciding for Christ has to happen each day. The same thing is true in marriage. Those who on their wedding day publicly affirmed their decision to marry someone need to confirm that decision each day by how they live as a faithful husband or wife.

In this Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 13:1-23), Jesus tells a parable about accepting the word of God. He says the word is like seed that is scattered by a farmer.

Some seed falls on the path and is quickly eaten by birds. Some seed ends up on rocky ground where it sprouts but quickly dies because it is unable to put down roots. Some seed drops among thorns that choke the sprouting plants. But some seed falls on rich soil and produces an amazing harvest.

We can think of that parable as describing the different ways that people respond when they hear the message of the Gospel. Some people decide to accept the word, but the competing messages of this world, the temptations of life, and the lure of pleasure, power, and possessions pull them away from what they have heard.

But other people from the first moment they hear the word allow it to take root in their hearts and to guide their lives.

Like a decision to accept Christ or a decision to marry, a decision to allow the word of God into our hearts is not something that happens once: It has to happen every day.

Each day, like seed, the word of God is sown in our lives. We hear it proclaimed at Mass. We hear it preached from the pulpit and through social media. We find it on the pages of our Bibles and on the Internet. We hear its message put to music, proclaimed on billboards, and referenced in conversations. We find it in the mysteries of the rosary and the prayers we say. We have it come to mind as we recall a scripture passage that touched our hearts.

Each day, we decide how to respond to the word of God that we have heard, or read, or seen, or remembered. Do we reflect upon it and let it influence our lives or does it come and go like so many other words and thoughts?

Deciding to accept and live out the word of God is not a onetime decision. Each day we decide what we will do with God’s word.

© 2020 Rev. Thomas B. Iwanowski