Daily Reflection – 1/29/2020
On another occasion he began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land. And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them, “Hear this! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed 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 and it produced no grain. And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.” And when he was alone, those present along with the Twelve questioned him about the parables. He answered them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been granted to you. But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that ‘they may look and see but not perceive, and hear and listen but not understand, in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.’” Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables? The sower sows the Word. These are the ones on the path where the Word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the Word sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the Word, receive it at once with joy. But they have no root; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the Word, they quickly fall away. Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the Word, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the Word, and it bears no fruit. But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the Word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”( Mark 4:1-20)
Jesus’ parable of the sower is aimed at the hearers of his word. There are different ways of accepting God’s word and they produce different kinds of fruit accordingly.
The parable of the Sower likens the mysterious working of grace to the inner life-force of the seed (the Word of God) and also to the potential of the soil — whether rocky and shallow or fruitful and arable. But human freedom also comes into play in the process of our fulfilment. Since God has breathed into us his own Spirit, we are not clods of inanimate earth, but malleable clay for the divine potter to form. Our free response to God’s grace makes us both arable and pliable.
We are not meant to wait passively and do nothing, simply waiting for God to make us grow. While many things are outside our control and eventually, we must leave all to God, we still need to seek to do his will. Salvation is the interplay of God’s grace and our response.
Indeed, much of the soil is rocky and dry, with the result that many seeds never take root, or never properly ripen. Yet, in spite of all kinds of obstacles, there can be a good harvest. The underlying message remains: Look beyond the obstacles, the set-backs, the disappointments; God is at work in Jesus, and the harvest will be great in the end. Any of us can focus too much on what is not going well, by the failures, the diminishment of the church as we knew it. He encourages us to keep hopeful in the midst of loss and failure, because He is always at work in generating life, even when drought seems to kill the landscape.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, faith in your word is the way to wisdom, and to ponder your divine plan is to grow in the truth. Open my eyes to your deeds, and my ears to the sound of your call, that I may understand your will for my life and live according to it.
None of us should think that because we see hardness or difficulties in our lives now, that we are beyond hope of change, or that it’s too late for us. God can “plow” us up at any time, making us more receptive to the work he has sown in us and more able to bear the abundant fruit that his seed is capable of producing. We should always keep our eyes and ears open, looking for ways that God may be trying to work a greater softening in our hearts, a greater receptivity to his word.