DAILY GOSPEL COMMENTARY: THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER (Mt 13:1-9)
GOSPEL OF WEDNESDAY, 16TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
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.”
The parable of the Sower shows us how God’s grace and revelation can be received in different ways, depending on man’s correspondence to His grace.
- What Jesus says in the Parable underlines man’s responsibility to be ready to accept God’s grace and to respond to it. Jesus’ reference to Isaiah (Mt 13:14-15) is a prophecy of that hardness of heart which is a punishment meted out to those who resist grace.
- The soil refers to man’s dispositions in accepting Christ and his teachings. God cannot save us if we do not correspond to his grace and put our own part and hence the necessity of having the proper dispositions so that God’s grace would bear fruit in us.
“The seed fallen on the path stands for those who hear the message of the Kingdom of God but do not understand it; thus the evil one comes and snatches it away. Indeed, the evil one does not want the seed of the Gospel to sprout in the heart of man… The second is that of the seed fallen among the stones: this represents the people who hear the word of God and understand it immediately, but superficially, because they have no roots and they are unsettled; and when trials and tribulations arise, these people give up immediately. The third case is that of the seed fallen among the briars [thorns]: Jesus explains that this refers to the people who hear the word but they, because of the cares of the world and the seduction of riches, are choked. Finally, the seed fallen on fertile soil represents those who hear the word, accept it, cherish it and understand it, and they bear fruit. The perfect model of this good soil is the Virgin Mary. (Pope Francis, Angelus address, July 13, 2014).”
- Man’s indifference, superficiality and worldliness may lead to the seed of God’s word to germinate but it will eventually, or wither and die, or be carried away by the winds of frivolity, materialism and hedonism. Hence, we must always strive to have good dispositions, being docile to His Word, put our own part, if Christ’s life were to grow and bear fruit in us.
“And we can ask ourselves: how is our heart? Which soil does it resemble: that of the path, the rocks, the thorns? It’s up to us to become good soil with neither thorns nor stones, but tilled and cultivated with care, so it may bear good fruit for us and for our brothers and sisters.
And it will do us good not to forget that we too are sowers. God sows good seed, and here too we can also ask ourselves: which type of seed comes out of our heart and our mouth? Our words can do much good and also much harm; they can heal and they can wound; they can encourage and they can dishearten. Remember: what counts is not what goes in but what comes out of the mouth and of the heart. (Pope Francis, Angelus address, July 13, 2014).”
To accept Christ, listening to His Word is not enough. It is necessary to put it into practice no matter what the difficulties it may entail.
- These difficulties are varied: a neo-pagan environment where materialism, hedonism and individualism seem to have the upper hand such that man’s priorities are inverted wherein that which is useful and pleasant (money, sensible pleasures, material goods…) are given more importance than what is morally good.
- In some cases, there is a sincere desire to follow Christ but inconstancy, laziness or the anxieties of life itself prevent one from doing so.
Dear brethren in Christ, let us ask God, through the intercession of Mother Mary, “the perfect model of the good soil,” for the grace of docility to receive Christ and His Teachings through His Church and His instruments, and for the fidelity and perseverance to put into practice His Word, live our Christian faith and bear fruits of holiness and apostolate, arriving at the glory of the freedom of the children of God.
A great day ahead and God bless!
Fr. Rolly Arjonillo.
TOPIC: DO YOU COMPLAIN AND CRITICIZE A LOT?
Today’s first reading shows a grumbling, ungrateful, self-possessed Israelites complaining about their plight to Moses. They have just crossed the Red Sea and are off to a long and winding journey to the promised land which could have taken them just 11 days but actually took 40 years to happen. They complain about their water situation, their lack of food, their difficult situation in the desert.
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