Gospel Reading and Thoughts for July 13, 2014

Matthew 13:1-23

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got

into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.” The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and be converted, and I heal them. “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. “Hear then the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

 

Always one of my favorite parables, the Sower and the Seed fluctuates its meaning to me depending on the day.

Am I the Sower? Am I striving to spread the love of God, in my actions and my words? Sometimes the Holy Spirit guides me and that seed – the love of God – is able to take root in someone’s heart. I may never see it grow into wheat, but I am happy knowing that there is a chance something that God has directed me to do or say (or write) may someday, far in the future, bloom into fruit. I know that there are other occasions when what I do means nothing to others. No amount of kind words or helpful tasks will make that love of God become evident to others, possibly because the love of God is being choked out by worldly desires or stolen away by the devil. But maybe, just maybe, I may in some very small part, contribute to someone else’s salvation. The sower doesn’t have to choose where the seed falls but just has to continue sowing.

Am I the Soil? Is the word of God falling on rich soil in my own heart? Am I too distracted by worldly temptations to recognize the flower amongst the weeds. Am I so self-centered that I allow the devil to steal away the goodness that others do and taint it with cynicism? Do I start off with great intentions but then fall short for lack of focus or energy? How can I help the seed that God is spreading in my own life take rich root and grow. For me, I think more of a conversation with God, more of a sacramental celebration, more turning to Him in my needs and joys, will make Him more evident in my own heart.

How do we help our children have rich soil? Talk to them about the dangers of the world – the distractions of technology, the decreasing value of the family, the sadness and suffering. And then talk to them about the great joys that we can have in serving the Lord – the simplicity that comes with obedience in the Lord, the yoke that is light if we follow His will, the joy that comes in turning our lives over in trust to our Sower. They too will become rich soil and bloom beautifully in His love!!

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