The Parable of the Sower
An author who talked about Communication and Leadership said something like this: “People speak at 100 to 175 words per minute, but they can listen intelligently at 600 to 800 words per minute. Since only a part of our mind is paying attention, it is easy to go into mind drift, that is, thinking about other things while listening to someone. The cure for this is active listening which involves listening with a purpose.It may be to gain information, obtain directions, understand others, solve problems, share interest, see how another person feels, show support, etc. It requires that the listener attends to the words and the feelings of the sender for understanding. It requires the receiver to hear the various messages, understand the meaning and then verify the meaning by offering feedback.”
In relation to what I have quoted, Jesus in today’s gospel tells us about the Parable of the Sower. In the first century Palestine, there were various practices of panting. One of them is described in today’s gospel: that of sowing first and then plowing later.
Actually this parable tells us something about how we do listen to the word of God with our own hearts. I think this parable is also used in Marriage Encounter Seminar for couples, as mentioned also by a priest in his homily. Couples are asked to reflect on how far their openness is in listening and to sharing God’s word with each other. The four different kinds of ground make us understand too as to what kind of hearts we have in listening, living and sharing God’s word to others.
First, “Some seed fell on the path….” The path is where everyone walks; it is public; It is not a place of interest; it leads to elsewhere. The path has no interiority and is impenetrable. And so therefore, there is no openness at all (so pusong bato).
Second,“Some seed fell on rocky ground….” The heart can be like a rock or a stone: solid, impenetrable, self-enclosed, separate, unloving and unloved…. Throughout the ages it has been a common metaphor for the heart. “I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19). It represents a surface level heart and there is a little openness (so pusong plastic).
Third,“Some seed fell among thorns….” It has a chance to grow there, but everything else is growing there too. Our attention is divided into a thousand parts, and only one is available for the word of God. It represents too an insecure heart and there is openness but the heart has many concerns (so pusong mamon).
Fourth, “Some seed fell on good soil….” It is good soil when none of the above applies. Then the heart is deep, soft and silent. And then we may hear the word of God fully. It represents too a generous and a wide open heart (so pusong busilak).
And so how good is our listening, especially for the word of God? But let us always remember that without God there is nothing we can do and as Oswald Chambers says, “It is not our trust that keeps us, but the God in whom we trust who keeps us.” Christian life is not just learning the chapters and verses in the Bible alone, as what our Protestant brethren are doing, and attending Masses everyday. It is all about obedience.
OPTION 01, 02, 03,