Isaiah 56: 1-3, 6-6
John 5: 33-36


Jesus spoke of John as a burning and shining lamp that illuminated the hearts of those who heard his message. His message was clear, and people who heard it were disturbed because he speaks the truth and bears witness to the truth.

What does disturbed look like? Speaking truth? Witnessing to truth? Do we even know what truth is? After all, my truth and yours might be different, yet both are truth.

Each day as I spend time surrounded by people living on the margins, I am often confronted by the reality of truth. It leads me to reflect on it using a planting metaphor that we often hear in scripture – a seed.

The gospel is calling us to be a burning and shining lamp, but its brightness depends on the kind of oil we put into our lives. As I reflect on those unique individuals I am blessed to walk beside each day, I learn from them the oil that they use and what is shining.

If we plant honesty, we will reap trust.

If we plant goodness, we will reap friendship.

If we plant consideration, we will reap harmony.

If we plant hard work, we will reap success.

If we plant forgiveness, we will reap reconciliation.

If we plant patience, we will reap improvements.

If we plant faith, we will reap miracles.


If we plant dishonesty, we will reap distrust.

If we plant selfishness, we will reap loneliness.

If we plant laziness, we will reap stagnation.

If we plant bitterness, we will reap isolation.

If we plant greed, we will reap loss.

If we plant gossip, we will reap enemies.

If we plant worries, we will reap wrinkles.

As we begin these nine days of reflection and preparation for Christ’s birth, may we feel our hearts and minds filled with love and knowledge of God. May what we plant always reap generously, and if we plant the message of Christ in our hearts, then surely we will be ready to receive Christ into our midst. What we scatter today will find its fruit in the barn of our lives.


Sr Karen Englebretsen CP, Cross and Passion Sisters. blessed to be a spiritual care worker in the homeless sector in Melbourne.