Again he began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! 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 did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away.
Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that
‘they may indeed look, but not perceive,
and may indeed listen, but not understand;
so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’”
And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.
And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing. And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”
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.
In today’s Gospel reading, we are introduced to the Parable of the Sower, the first of Jesus’ parables in which he uses metaphors as a way of teaching and preaching.
In this parable, we find Jesus teaching us about the multiple ways in which the seeds of God’s word, love and invitation to new life for us may miss the rich and fertile longings of our hearts and souls.
Just as the farmer is longing for lush life in his harvest, we, too, may long for lush and flourishing life in God’s love and care.
And yet, through this parable, Jesus is able to teach us, and caution us, that, despite our strong longings and best intentions for a life-giving relationship in God, we may miss, reject or confuse the various invitations we receive from him.
Jesus shows us in this parable that we need to cooperate with God in the tending, growth and cultivation of these seeds of relationship with him- a relationship full of love, possibility, redemption and new life. Jesus helps call us to a rich and fertile spiritual life by reminding us to tend to the openness and welcome of the fertile soil of our minds, hearts and spirits to receive God and all that he brings to us.
In this parable, Jesus prompts us to, once again, orient our lives, prayer, listening, attention, discernment and choices towards living, loving and choosing that which best leads to a rich harvest of the best fruits of the Spirit of God within us.
—Kathy Coffey-Guenther, Ph.D., is senior mission and Ignatian leadership specialist at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI.
Thank you for the many ways in which you help prepare my mind, heart and spirit for your love and care and deepening knowledge of your invitations for my life.
Help me to stay awake and alert, to pay attention to the ways in which I am opening to your call in relationship with me, and to the ways in which you are inviting me to help you serve your people.
Dear God, help me to push away any fears or hesitation to walk with you, making more space for you to live within me, while releasing those traits, behaviors and feelings that pull me further from you.
God, keep me humble in my longing and seeking for peace in you, always.
—Kathy Coffey-GuentherPlease share the Good Word with your friends!