Matthew 13: 18-23
Jer 3:14-17 / Jer 31
The man who hears the word and understands it — he produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
(Matthew 13: 23)
The seed of God's Word has been sown
And has taken root in my heart...
Christ's teachings now that we have known,
To others we too must impart.
Jesus said to His disciples: “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13:18-23)
Our Lord Jesus used ordinary events (such as sowing and reaping, as much of Galilee and Judea were agricultural regions) to represent His spiritual messages to the people. Remarkably, His parables are still applicable to present-day human events or circumstances. We can see the allegories of the seeds sown in four kinds of people.
The seed that fell on the pathway is the Word of God preached to people who live in the “fast lane”. They simply have no time to listen to Gospel values that they find to be antiquated, and “cramps their style”. Sharing the sacred message with this kind is just a waste of time, like “throwing pearls before swine” (Mt.7:6).
Then there are those that receive the seed with excitement, and at first it may seem that a conversion has begun. But soon we discover that their faith is superficial, like a thin layer of soil above hard limestone. Just as easily as they were excited by their “new-found faith”, just as easily they get discouraged and fade away when they experience trials, or are disappointed by some Church doctrine, or biased against a member of the clergy, or a member of our community. This kind are usually typical candidates for “born again” or new-age communities.
Finally, we meet Christians who may have been receptive to God’s Word, but their commitment is overwhelmed by problems in their businesses or professional careers, or by the material success of their enterprises. These are like the seed that fell among the thorns. They might stay for a time, asking for prayers for this or that need, and when their prayers are not answered, they give up trying to seek a deeper understanding of their faith. It may seem as if our efforts in bringing the values of Christian living into their lives had been in vain. But, as St. Paul said, we are not discouraged. Because out of 28 “seeds” that are sown in every Christian Life Program, if only seven brothers become active members of our brotherhood, we believe that they will produce “a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Many are called but only a few are chosen, but if they have come to serve, their ministry will be a blessing to the community. The Word of God will take root in their hearts, and they will proclaim it in words and deeds. This kind receives and understands the Good News from the Holy Spirit, and it will not be taken away from them. Instead, this will bear fruit abundantly in their community and in the marketplace.
Thank You, Lord for Your parable of the Sower, which has made us understand that numbers do not matter to You; even just a little will suffice to spread Your Gospel message to the world. We only need to persevere, and believe, that in Your time there will be a great harvest, and we will also reap our reward in heaven. Amen.
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