A Daily Gospel Reflection by Dn. Carlos Porras Jr. – July 26th, 2023

The Gospel, according to Matthew (13:1-9)

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A Sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

 REFLECTION Why did Jesus speak in parables? Jesus answered this same question to His disciples by saying to them; “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.” Parables help us to keep our attention on the story we are hearing. We tend to get less distracted, making it easily to remember, and to understand some basic lessons.   Through speaking in parables, Jesus grants understanding to those who are seeking after Him – revealing truth to those who are willing to listen and thoughtfully consider what He has to say. Conversely, those whose hearts are hardened against Him have the truth hidden from them.   Whenever I come across a Gospel with a parable, it is especially important for me. You see, I have been a Catholic since my baptism, three days after I was born. But for many years I was stagnant in my faith. I grew up going to Mass every week, hearing the Gospel, and partaking in the Eucharist but failed to continually grow in holiness and understanding of the Mysteries of Heaven. I slowly lost even the little faith that I had. I had become a lukewarm Catholic who went through the motions but failed to produce the good fruit that comes from authentic faith.   Then in my late 40s, I was invited to attend a three-and-a-half-day retreat called Cursillo. As I reflect upon my spiritual condition after that retreat, I recall making a new commitment to fervently embrace the Gospel to cultivate my soul to be truly rich soil that continually produces an abundance of good fruit.   In the “Parable of the Sower” that we hear today, Jesus explains how the seed that falls either on the path, on rocky ground, among thorns, or on rich soil, can to produce a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold fruit.   However, some seeds that fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots…”   This is a very visible description that will lead people to conclusions right away. Therefore, parables easily draw the listener in to understand its basic lesson. With that said, today’s story is a parable because of the deep lesson that is learned. Jesus wanted the crowd to understand that they will only understand the mysteries He is teaching them if they are like the rich soil. And He also wanted them to understand that much of what He was teaching them was not falling on rich soil in their hearts.   This parable, as well as all of Jesus’ parables, has the effect of causing the listener to think. Thinking leads to what we may term a holy curiosity. And this holy curiosity will begin to produce the rich soil that was needed within them to open the door to the deeper mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven.  

ACTION FOR THE DAY How does Jesus speak to you? Are you able to listen to Jesus speak directly to you, in prayer, so as to reveal to you the deepest mysteries of Heaven? When God speaks to you, in prayer and meditation, does the seed of His Word take root in your very soul? Does His gentle, quiet but transforming Voice communicate to you Who He is and what His will is for your life? If not, then parables are for you.      


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