What are parables? A parable is a short story that uses earthly scenarios to reveal heavenly mysteries or divine truths. Understanding parables requires intentional contemplation and openness to discern something new. In Sunday’s gospel (Matthew 13: 1-9&18-23), a large crowd gathers at the seashore to hear Jesus’ wise, uplifting teachings. He goes into a boat from where He addresses the crowd, not in plain language, but in parables. He speaks of the hidden mysteries of God’s kingdom.
On Sunday we read the first of the parables. In this parable, the parable of the Sower, Jesus speaks of the Sower who plants seed that fell on various kinds of ground. Some seeds were unproductive but those that fell on good soil brought forth abundant harvest. Jesus interprets the parable, explaining why some seeds were not fruitful. Jesus’ interpretation of the parable stirs us to personal introspection. Does the seed falling on the pathway represent my interior landscape, hearing the good news of God, and not understanding it, I fall into the grip of temptation? Am I the rocky soil that hear and gladly welcome Jesus’ words but soon turn away because I lack spiritual depth? Am I the thorny ground, distracted from the good news by the cares and riches of the world?
But perhaps, we are challenged not only to self-examination, but to consider that like Christ, we, members of the Body of Christ are Sowers. According to Paul, “But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you.” (Romans 8:9). As bearers of the Spirit of God, we are Sowers. We are called to spread the good news of Jesus Christ; that God through Jesus entered the world in a new way, bringing new life, offering new hope, and inviting us to become new persons living with Him eternally. Think of the urgent need for our society, our communities, our families to hear the good news of God’s kingdom of love, joy and peace while facing social dysfunctions such as poverty, fear, divisions and violence.
Each Sunday, we hear in the Eucharistic consecration, words that remind us of God’s lavish, loving self-giving: “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you.” Then as the Service ends, we are exhorted to “go in peace to love and serve the Lord!” Assured of God’s steadfast love, we go out planting seeds by both our words and deeds. We say a kind word to a stranger, assure someone of God’s love or do kind deeds. The amazing surprise of Jesus’ parable is that even if only one in four of the various soils on which seeds are planted, produces fruit, the harvest is abundant! We can sow with abandon for God’s word will achieve God’s purpose. The parable of the Sower proclaims the mysterious way in which God’s kingdom grows, by God’s grace, and with us as His instruments. Amen.