Sow seeds of goodness | Persons, places and things


By Barb Arland-Fye

Struggling to map out my plans for observing Lent, I asked my husband, Steve, about his plans. He responded, “Just to do more good toward others.” His simple answer didn’t satisfy my own quest for this season of renewal. I returned to reading, writing and musing over what I would “do.”


Steve’s response took on deeper meaning for me after I read a Vatican News post on Pope Francis’ message for Lent 2022. He invites the faithful to “sow seeds of goodness, so that we might reap a harvest of salvation for ourselves and others.” The pope based his message on a passage from St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all (6:9-10)” (Vatican News, Feb. 24, 2022).

Steve does not grow weary of striving to do good. Recently, a widower from our parish with whom Steve volunteers spoke wistfully about how much he would enjoy a good meal of meat and potatoes. The widower’s comment tugged at Steve’s heart. “I thought, well you know, I’ll make that for him. But then I thought, who else needs a good, home-cooked meal?” Steve said.


He prepared pot roast in a crockpot and delivered it unannounced to the widower, another widowed person from our parish and a couple dealing with some health issues. All of the recipients were surprised and appreciative. “It seems like this would be the right thing to do, helping people with a meal,” Steve said.

After talking with another parishioner about people who might appreciate a good, home-cooked meal, he drew up a list of nine people to whom he could make a special delivery. Next on the menu is meatloaf, which he promises not to deliver on Fridays!

I volunteered to join Steve in delivering the meals because I am a better visitor than I am a cook. Steve would gladly share the story about the time we were dating and he entered the kitchen where I had just burned a grilled cheese sandwich on the stove. However, my offer to accompany him seems like piggybacking onto someone else’s sowing seeds of goodness.

There is more to this idea of sowing seeds of goodness. “The Holy Father goes on to connect Paul’s words to the Galatians to the traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving,” writer Christopher Wells says in the Vatican News post. ‘“Let us not grow tired of praying,’ he says, realizing that we need God and others. ‘Let us not grow tired of uprooting evil from our lives,’ embracing fasting in order ‘to fortify our spirit for the battle against sin,’ especially through the sacrament of Confession and by fighting against concupiscence. ‘Let us not grow tired of doing good in active charity towards our neighbor,’ giving joyfully and generously to others, especially those in most need.”

In his own Lenten letter (Feb. 24 Catholic Messenger), Bishop Thomas Zinkula also makes reference to Pope Francis’ message based on that passage from Galatians, expanding on the “opportunity to do good.” The bishop reminds us that our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are not tasks on a checklist; they are our road to renewal. Too often, I have approached Lenten practices as a checklist. This Lent, I am striving to approach prayer, fasting and almsgiving as opportunities to do good, cooking excluded.

(Contact Editor Barb Arland-Fye at arland-fye@davenportdiocese.)

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