Wednesday of the 3rd Week of the Year

Mk 4:1-20

The Parable of the Sower

The story is told of Franklin Roosevelt, who often endured long receiving lines at the White House. He complained that no one really paid any attention to what was said. One day, during a reception, he decided to try an experiment. To each person who passed down the line and shook his hand, he murmured, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” The guests responded with phrases like: “Marvelous! Keep up the good work. We are proud of you. God bless you, sir.” It was not ‘til the end of the line, while greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his words were actually heard. Nonplussed, the ambassador leaned over and whispered, “I’m sure she had it coming.”

Today’s gospel parable is about the parable of the sower and this aim at the hearers of His word. There are different ways of accepting God’s word and accordingly they produce different kinds of fruits. And then after saying this parable, Jesus says: “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

It is said that there are four types of hearers of the word of God: First are the prejudiced hearers. They shut their minds. They may be ignoring and not really listening at all. Such a person is unteachable and blind to what they really don’t want to hear.

Second are the shallow hearers.  They fail to think things out or think them through; they lack depth.  They may be pretending like saying: “yeah, uh-uh, right, okay.” They may initially respond with an emotional reaction; but when it wears off their minds wander to something else.

Third are the selective hearers. They are such because they have many interests or cares, but lack the ability to hear or comprehend what is truly important.  They are too busy in order to pray or too preoccupied in order to study and to meditate God’s word. They may practice selective hearing, choosing only certain parts of the conversation which interest them.

Fourth are the open-minded hearers.  They are, at all times, willing to listen and to learn.  They are never too proud or too busy to learn.  They listen in order to understand. They practice attentive listening, paying attention and focusing energy on the words that are being said. But of course, “let us try our best to practice emphatic listening which is the most effective form of listening,” Stephen Covey said. It is the ability to put oneself in the shoes of the other and see, hear and feel from his/her perspective. It is the ability to listen not only with the ears but with the heart. It is the highest kind of hearing.

Once there was a man who dared God to speak: Burn the bush like you did for Moses, God. And I will follow. Collapse the wall like you did for Joshua, God. And I will fight. Still the waves like you did on Galilee, God. And I will listen. And so the man sat by a bush, near a wall, close to the sea and waited for God to speak. And God heard the man, so God answered. He sent fire, not for a bush, but for a church. He brought down a wall, not of brick, but of sin. He stilled a storm, not of sea, but of soul. And God waited for the man to respond. And He waited… And He waited… And He waited…But because the man was looking at bushes, not hearts; bricks and not lives; sea and not souls, he decided that God had done nothing.

Finally he looked to God and asked: “Have you lost your power? And God looked at him and said: “Have you lost your hearing?”

See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

OPTION  01,   02,   03,

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