When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.”
As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that ‘looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.’ “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.
But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
The United States is on the threshold of welcoming Pope Francis to our shores. His apostolic visit will take him to the White House and to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, to the halls of the United Nations General Assembly and the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, and to Philadelphia for the Worldwide Meeting on the Family. He will speak in each of these and several other locations to millions of people. Like the seeds Jesus sows in today’s gospel, perhaps some of his good words will fall on the footpath or on rocky ground or amidst the briers. But given Francis’ charismatic presence and his penetrating words, we can imagine that very good seed will fall in the hearts of his hearers…believers and non-believers alike, folks close to the Lord and those who are searching and seeking.
The question for each of us, as well as for those who hear Pope Francis’ words over the next week, is quite simple: like Jesus’ words we hear today, can we let the Holy Father’s words percolate within our hearts? Can we take them in with openness, imagine new possibilities for our daily living, and let God’s life-giving Spirit take root deep in our souls? Come, Lord Jesus!
—The Jesuit prayer team
Seed scattered and sown, wheat gathered and grown,
bread broken and shared as one, the living bread of God.
Vine, fruit of the land wine work of our hands,
one cup that is shared by all: the Living Cup, the Living Bread of God.
—Dan Feiten, “Seed Scattered and Sown,” © 1987, Ekklesia Music, Inc., in Ritual Song
© 1996, GIA Publications, Inc., Chicago, IL.