DAILY GOSPEL COMMENTARY:
THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER”
Gospel of Friday, 16th week in Ordinary Time,
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.”
Gospel Commentary from Pope Francis
Angelus, 13 July 2014
Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
This Sunday’s Gospel (Mt 13:1-23) shows us Jesus preaching on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, and because a large crowd surrounds him, He climbs into a boat, goes a little away from the shore and preaches from there. When he speaks to the people, Jesus uses many parables: in language understandable to everyone, with images from nature and from everyday situations.
The first story he tells is an introduction to all the parables: that of the sower, who sows his seed unsparingly on every type of soil. And the real protagonist of this parable is actually the seed, which produces more or less according to the type of soil upon which it falls. The first three areas are unproductive: along the path the seed is eaten by birds; on rocky ground the sprouts are scorched and wither away because they have no roots; among the briars the seed is choked by thorns. The fourth piece of ground is good soil, and only there does the seed take root and bear fruit.
In this case, Jesus does not limit himself to presenting this parable, he also explains it to his disciples. 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. This is the first analogy. 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: 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.
This parable speaks to each of us today, as it spoke to those who listened to Jesus 2,000 years ago. It reminds us that we are the soil where the Lord tirelessly sows the seed of his Word and of his love. How do we receive it? 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.
Our Lady teaches us, by her example, to understand the Word, cherish it and make it bear fruit in us and in others.
VIDEO COMMENTARY ON TODAY’S GOSPEL
TOPIC: HAVE JESUS’ TEACHINGS CHANGED YOUR OUTLOOK IN LIFE?
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus tells the parable of the sower. Four types of soil receive the seeds the sower throws.
TOPIC: Do we really want to grow spiritually even if it entails sacrifice?
Sometime back, an article appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Six executives were interviewed and they revealed their salaries. It ranged between $100,000 to $1 million a year.
Perhaps, you might think that if you made even just $100,000 a year – that’s about P5 million – you will be satisfied as it is more than enough to meet your daily needs and other wants.
However, they were also asked the question, “What is your greatest fear?” The answers ran along the same line – that their greatest fear was that they would not have enough. The follow up question was, “How much is enough?” They all answered, “a little more.”
We recall here Jesus’ other story of a rich young man who might have followed Jesus, but who backed out when he found out that he would have to get rid of his wealth in order to do so. (Matthew 19, Mark 10, Luke 18)
In today’s gospel, Jesus explains the parable of the sower, which he narrated in Matthew chapter 13:1-9, which represents us who listen to His words and the disposition of our hearts. Why does he repeat the parable? Perhaps, it is an appeal to all who heard it for the first time to really listen to what the parable’s message wanted to convey.
The seed falls on different surfaces, which represent us:
The Path or Roadside
• Represents a person who is indifferent and clings to his own set of beliefs and convictions. The teachings enters one ear but exits the other
The Rocky Earth
• Represents a person who enjoys the worldly pleasures. He starts to listen and gets excited, but the word of God does not sink in deep. When difficulties arise or persecution happens, they easily give up.
• Commitment to Christ and his teachings is not permanent. For example, one who loves the smell of money finds it hard to stop accumulating to his detriment. As the bible verse goes, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10). It is not money, per se, but the extreme liking to accumulate that tempts one to acquire at the expense of others, perhaps, or gives sparingly to the needy as a token.
• Some are also preoccupied with too much worrying. Their self-worth is based on what people will say about them and their heart is filled with jealousy, envy and anger.
• Hearing the message and living it out in one’s life. One knows that life is not easy. But the faith in God is steadfast and the inclination to live a righteous life and avoiding sin is strong.
The question to us is, do we really want to grow spiritually even if it entails sacrifice? Are we willing to change or do we point to others and say they must be the ones to change?
A priest was greeting his parishioners after the mass. One parishioner came to him and congratulated him. The parishioner said, “Father, that was an excellent sermon you gave today. Everything you said applies to some people I know.”
Indeed, we often want others to change for the better but we overlook ourselves in the quest for spiritual transformation.
Some gadgets that resemble a watch which you wear on your wrist tell you not just time but your heart rate and even tracks your number of steps taken in a day and your sleep pattern – all aids to making you a healthier peson. It is worn by those who want to lose weight and improve their quality of life. Surprisingly, a 2016 study on Fitbit, a popular brand, showed that unless one is dedicated enough to sacrifice some eating and are willing to maintain a regimen of fitness, wearing one will only be effective for a short time. Eventually, users who do not have the discipline and will power to lose weight will revert back to their old unhealthy ways.
When we are saddled by the temptation to backslide into our old complacent, doubt-filled, anxiety-driven, depression-full, faith-less and sinful ways, what do we do?
Do we call the Holy Spirit to come to the rescue? Or do we go for quick fixes that would satisfy us temporarily but have no lasting or permanent contentment.
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