Wednesday of the 16th Week of the Year

Matt 13:1-9

The Parable of the Sower

A story is told about three priests who found themselves before St. Peter at the gates of heaven and were asked what they had done in their lifetime. The first one said he had baptized a lot of people during his ministry and then he brought out from his bag his record book of baptisms. The next one said he had specialized in marriages during his ministry and brought out his record book of marriages he had solemnized and validated

The third one boasted that his ministry had been filled with series of talks, retreats, homilies and recollections. When asked by St. Peter what he had to prove his claim, he opened his bag and behold inside were the ears of so many people because their ears “listened to the word but they did not live it.” St. Peter was supposed to have said: “same with you, Father. I will just accept your tongue.”

Today’s gospel is about the parable of the sower. The sower sows seeds in the field. Some fall on the footpath, on rocky ground, on thorny ground and some fall on good soil. It is said that in Palestine, seed is often sown before the field is plowed. The sower scatters seed in all directions as he walks up and down the field. This parable seems quite easy to understand. This is aimed at the hearers of His word. The sower is God and the seed is God’s word and His Kingdom. The different kinds of soils or grounds are the different human reception or different ways of accepting God’s word and they produce different kinds of fruit accordingly. First, Jesus says: “Some seed fell on the path,” (v.4). All of us know that pathway is so hard that the seed would lay only on its surface where birds of the sky would eat it. This person is a prejudiced hearer who has a shut mind. Such a person is unteachable and blind to what he/she doesn’t want to hear and unwilling to accept anything new.

Second, Jesus says: “Some fell on rocky ground,” (v. 5). All of us know that the top soil of a rocky ground is often quite thin and the seed would grow quickly but its root unable to sink because it doesn’t have deep soil. This person is a shallow hearer.  He/she fails to think things out or think them through; he/she lacks depth faith.  He/she may initially respond with an emotional reaction; but when it wears off, his/her mind wanders to something else. He/she enthusiastic at the beginning but, shallow.

Third, Jesus says: “Some seed fell among thorns,” (v. 7). Thorn is a constant problem of farmers during Jesus’ time. Thorn refers to a person who possesses the proper disposition for spiritual growth but he/she is choked by excessive care and concerns for the riches of this world. This person is a busy hearer. He has many interests or cares but lacks the ability to hear or comprehend what is truly important.  This person is forever too busy to pray or too preoccupied to study and meditates on God’s word.  He/she may work so hard that he/she is too tired to even think of anything else but his/her work.

Fourth, Jesus says: “Some seed fell on rich soil,” (v. 8). This is the person who is free from all three of these obstacles. This person is an open mind hearer. Somebody had said that this person is at all times willing to listen and to learn.  He/she is never too proud or too busy to learn.  He/she listens in order to understand.   God gives grace to those who hunger for His word that he/she may understand His will and have the strength to live according to it.

And so this parable reminds us to be doers of the Word of God and not just hearers; to be doers of God’s word in our concrete lives and not just preachers.

See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

OPTION  01,   02,   03,

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