July 24, 2020, Friday of the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time
Scripture: Matthew 13:18-23
‘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.’
The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
“. . . what was sown . . .”
In today’s reading Jesus explains the parable of the sower, found in all three Synoptic Gospels. Speaking to people who till the soil, Jesus uses images familiar to his hearers. A sower goes out to sow seeds and some of them yield a good crop, but others do not. It all depends on the type of soil where the seeds fall.
Biblical scholars explain that in this parable the sower represents Christ, and the seed is the word of God, or the preaching of the kingdom. The evil one is Satan. The soil symbolizes the heart of each person with its receptivity to the word. Some hearers will accept it, while others will suffocate or even reject the word.
What kind of soil am I?
Some people do not respond to the preaching of the word. They make no effort to understand and practice what they hear. The seed is plucked away and does not yield any fruit. Am I this shallow seed?
Other people are easily won over when they first hear the word. But when problems arise, or when they are persecuted or shunned because of their faith, they close their hearts and the seed dies. Am I this hardened, rocky soil?
Still others let themselves become so entwined with wealth, worldly distractions, and the desire to make a name for themselves, that the seed is suffocated or choked to death. Am I this matted, entangled field?
But thankfully others hear the word and respond to it with all their hearts. They joyfully accept the word and the challenges of God’s kingdom. The seed produces an abundant harvest in their lives. Am I this moist, rich, productive soil?
Lord Jesus, Sower of the seed, may the ground of my life be well tilled and prepared to receive your word. I want to welcome it into a heart that is open, receptive, loving. In this way, my life will bear a plentiful, fruitful harvest, with your help, and for your glory.
What kind of soil am I?