“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.” (Matthew 13:18-23)
Today’s Gospel is well known and oft repeated. Biblical scholars have written volumes about the various seeds and some have written about the soil.
As an avid gardener, I read this passage and focus on the soil. I have tilled enough earth to know that it can always be improved.
The parable of the sower depicts our individual response to Jesus’ call for us to follow Him. We can be like the rocky soil, rejoicing over God’s truth for a time, but not allowing it to change us much, leaving our shallow roots to wither from the persecutions we endure and the troubles that come our way. Troubles will always come. There will always be illness, family strife, shattered relationships, financial worries, and unmet expectations. And persecutions are promised for those who genuinely try to follow after Jesus’ example.
The difference lies, Jesus says, in the way that we choose to respond. If our faith is shallow, untended, and not watered, we will not have the strength to withstand those difficulties. The harshness of the world is quick to burn up the life of Christ if we do not work to protect and care for it.
But the follower of Christ recognizes that each of us has been called. And over two millennia, many have embraced this call; they have let it grow in their hearts by means of sharing their faith through their words and actions.
To be that rich soil, we have to continually remind ourselves that faith is a verb. It must be exercised to bear fruit. The seed of the kingdom, the living Word, has been planted within us. We are asked to live the word of God so that each of us, in our own way can bring our part of the world back to God.
Does that sound too grand? Too ambitious? Something beyond us?
It is not if we remember that the Lord spreads us in the field of the world to bear a harvest for the Kingdom to come. However, it begins with one person, one grain, one seed, at a time.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, help me to guard the word you have planted in my heart that no doubt or temptation may keep me from believing and obeying you. May I be fruitful in your service and may I never fear to speak of you to others and to share with them the good news of the gospel.”
The power to effect redemptive change in the world comes from the life of God within us. It is amazing how little leaven it takes to raise a loaf of bread. Those little particles of yeast have the power to ferment, to change the lump of wet dough into a loaf of aromatic, tasty, nourishing bread.