The United States is on the threshold of welcoming Pope Francis to our shores. His apostolic visit will take him to the White House and to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, to the halls of the United Nations General Assembly and the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, and to Philadelphia for the Worldwide Meeting on the Family. He will speak in each of these and several other locations to millions of people. Like the seeds Jesus sows in today’s gospel, perhaps some of his good words will fall on the footpath or on rocky ground or amidst the briers. But given Francis’ charismatic presence and his penetrating words, we can imagine that very good seed will fall in the hearts of his hearers…believers and non-believers alike, folks close to the Lord and those who are searching and seeking.

The question for each of us, as well as for those who hear Pope Francis’ words over the next week, is quite simple: like Jesus’ words we hear today, can we let the Holy Father’s words percolate within our hearts? Can we take them in with openness, imagine new possibilities for our daily living, and let God’s life-giving Spirit take root deep in our souls? Come, Lord Jesus!

—The Jesuit prayer team