Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Gospel Text for Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Matthew 13:1-9,18-23 Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: "Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!"

"Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."


  1. We Westerners, focused as we are on technique and effectiveness, tend to see the efficacy of the seed in the various soils. We make it about good soil, about applying the seed correctly.

    I see the extravagance of the sower. The sower scatters the seed, wildly, abundantly, on all - plowed soil, rocky soil, paths; everywhere. A farmer listening to this parable would likely exclaim, "What a foolish sower, to waste seed like that." So God is a foolish sower, scattering the seed of the word, the seeds of love, widely, wildly, extravagantly - even upon me.

  2. Jesus said, “Let anyone with ears listen….” and then repeated variations on the theme of “when anyone hears the word (of God)…. five time in the span of three sentences. He also used lots of earthy images; path, rocky ground, roots, thorns, good soil. It is hard to miss the allusion – Jesus wants the people to whom he is preaching to understand that God’s word and God’s kingdom is on earth and spread abundantly for everyone. It may be on hardened pathways, among the thorns and tangled in roots, it may be snatched up or blow away, withered, hidden or it may be received and blossom. Still, God spread the seed - God's word. The question is - Do you hear that? Because it is up to you to hear the message, and to bear good fruit. And to bear good fruit is no easy task. You might have to loosen hardened soil, pull out weeds and thorns, remove old roots and detritus, do whatever it takes to be receptive to God’s word.

    When Jesus told the parable of the sower to the whole crowd standing on the beach he said, “listen...” then he cast his words like seeds upon the people, all of the people so that everyone had the opportunity to receive the benefit of God’s word . Jesus knew that much of what he said would fall onto fallow ground, deaf or distracted ears, but – if even a few people would receive his word – hear his message – it would bear much fruit and continue for the benefit of all. It all rather comes to a single point: when people hear God’s word and” understand it,” this is the blossoming of God’s kingdom on earth and the result will be astonishing, up to a “hundredfold” yield from as much as a single seed. And God will continue to spread God's word onto all manner of ground.

    Holy God, help me to receive your word and blossom.