The Holy Gospel according to Matthew (13:18-23):
Jesus said to his disciples: “Hear the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the Kingdom without understanding it, and the Evil One comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.
But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”
Reflection: Any parent can tell you what it’s like to be heard but not understood. This is true when they talk to their children, trying to tell them something, instruct them or give them advice. Parents say things like, “In one ear and out the other” or “It’s like talking to a brick wall.” This is how it feels when they cannot connect with their children. Jesus had similar experiences with his disciples. Despite all his time teaching and performing miracles, the disciples, at times, did not understand Jesus. So, Jesus used parables, images that are well known to them and compared them with ideas that are difficult to understand, to connect with and help those listening to him grasp and understand the meaning of what he was trying to tell them. In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us an explanation of the parable of the Sower. The Sower represents Jesus, who spreads the message of the Kingdom of God like seeds. This parable is not so much focused on the Sower or the seed but rather on the different kinds of soil the seed falls on and how it is received. The soil represents us. Spiritually, I believe all of us have been the different kinds of soil/ground in our lives. Jesus scatters the seed to the wind. He does not discriminate, does not pick and choose. He scatters his seeds — His Word, His Truth — anywhere and everywhere. Jesus is at work in our lives all the time scattering his seed and his message. Are we listening? What kind of “ground or soil” are we? Are we ready to receive the message and apply it to our lives? How do we receive the message that God gives us? Do we let the message “go in one ear and out the other?” Do we allow it to take root, grow and produce fruit? That is a choice we make each and every day.
Action for the day: One way we can prepare for mass is to read and pray with the scripture readings for the mass. This way we will be the “rich soil” Jesus speaks about. When we hear the Word of God proclaimed at mass, we will hear His Word, understand it and allow it to take root in our lives so that the Word of God may bear fruit in our lives. May we make this our form of prayer every day.