We are all acquainted with this Gospel passage. It is famous, and taught often to children in schools. Therein lies the danger: we are at risk of turning it into nothing more than a children’s story that we know.
To understand the Gospels we must understand that Jesus lived in a primitive culture. Farming was the main method of income amongst a largely illiterate population. His use of parables allowed the illiterate (by far most of those who lived around him) the chance to understand his teachings in a fuller, more personal way. This parable is an excellent example.
We can, now, ponder the various seed locations and ask ourselves where exactly we fall. There is no point in doing this unless we are truthful with ourselves. The reality can be painful. But it is a good way of listening to Jesus and allowing ourselves to hear his words within our lives.
Unlike with real seeds, if we fall in the wrong places, then we have the amazing ability, under the auspices of God’s grace, to try again. This profundity is our strength and stay. We can ask forgiveness and begin again. God likes to forgive us. In fact, he finds excuses to do so. Upon the Cross, Jesus said of his killers: Forgive them, for they know not what they do. He finds excuses for us. But we still need to try. We still need to recognize when we fall in the wrong places.
In some cases, we fall in multiple places. We can each be like a handful of seeds, not just one. On some levels we are good and trusted Christians. On others, we fall short. Which are those seeds that let us down? Let’s look at our inner life, and try to broadcast our personal handful of seeds into a more fertile place – all of them, not just some.
This is the way of sanctity. Perhaps it is true that we should all try more assiduously.
A reading from the Gospel according to Matthew 13:1-23
Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside, but such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat there. The people all stood on the beach, and he told them many things in parables.
‘Imagine a sower going out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Listen, anyone who has ears!’
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.