In the Gospel Reading, Jesus tells a parable by means of which He teaches that the Holy Spirit infuses life in the heart of the Church.
PRODUCING FRUITFUL HARVEST
In a makeshift pulpit slightly off shore, Jesus tells a story that is among all of his teachings that are best known: the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23).
In the time of our Blessed Lord there were no fences, no machines and no GPS calibrated plotting patterns. Fields were anything but carefully designed. Planting precision was nary a concern. In even further contrast to contemporary farming innovations and practices, the sower then did not first till the field only then to apply seed deliberately in order to minimize sowing expenses and maximize yields. The first act then was casting seed in a seemingly indiscriminate and wasteful style while walking right through the field. Only after the seed had been wildly scattered was the land ploughed. Even though seeds landed everywhere, inexorably a crop would find the light of day.
In Jesus parable, the listeners – us – are likened to the soil receiving the sower’s seed. Just as the seed lands everywhere so, too, do Jesus’ words and actions find no place in the hearts of some who stubbornly remain ignorant to God’s ways.
There are others, however, whose hearts are more receptive to God’s Word.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 13 is the decisive moment marking Jesus’ break with official Judaism. From this point forward the hostility between Jesus and the children of Israel escalates and, sadly, many will refuse all that Jesus has come to make known for them and their salvation (vv. 14-15).
Jesus explains the meaning of the parable and we learn more about the vast divide between those who receive God’s Word and those who reject it.
Reception occurs first by hearing God’s Word, reflecting upon it, applying it to our daily lives, using it as the measure of our lives. How immensely privileged we are to hear God’s Word!
However, our Gospel today makes clear that this only is part of the story. It remains for us all to consider how wholeheartedly and abidingly we receive it.