When I read the Gospel I thought of a verse from the letter of St. Paul to the Galatians; ”Make no mistake: God is not mocked, for a person will reap only what he sows, because the one who sows for his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit.” This passage could be described as Paul’s summary of the teaching of the sower we hear in the Gospel today.
When we speak of sowing it is important to keep in mind that it is not only “what” we sow, it is also “how” we sow. If we sow our seeds by looking for a good location, making sure that the soil is right and that there is good drainage. If we intentionally plant each seed, water, week and fertilize if necessary, we will end up with beautiful plants. If we are careless, in that we really don’t care what kind of soil we plant the seeds, occasionally look out a window at the plants and toss some water on them, we will end up with poor crops and disappointment as the result.
Jesus took on a task that all were familiar with and used it to illustrate a much deeper message. If we imagine ourselves as sowers it teaches us that our spiritual life takes careful planning and constant tending in order to bear fruit. it is difficult for God’s grace to break through to us If we are careless or neglectful with our spiritual life.
When Jesus finished telling the parable to a large crowd a group of his disciples came to him an asked what it meant. This is an act of interest and devotion to Jesus. They truly cared about what he was saying and wanted to understand it. Jesus responds with a beautiful statement of affirmation to them:
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
He is telling this group that they are sowing good seed and caring properly for it. They will bear good fruit. Our call is to see and hear God’s word in Scriptures, spoken in others, and in our hearts, and the Lord will say that be are blessed because we see and hear God’s presence.
We achieve this by building a good foundation on which to build our lives. Early in the Act of the Apostles the young Church identified four elements that helped them individually and as a community: The Eucharist, Community, Prayer and Study. These four elements of the early Christians are sometimes described as the pillars of our faith. They nourish us and support us by providing us with a means to build a meaningful relationship with God, as well as with the Christian community. By making these four elements part of our lives we will continue to grow throughout our lives and bear much fruit.
God lovingly sows seeds for us and provides us with what we need to care for them so that they might bear fruit. Those who stayed after the sermon to ask Jesus questions were attentive to that, and we can be part of that group of followers who truly see and hear what God says to us. Let us reflect on how we can better nurture what God has given us so that we might bear abundant fruit.
Father Killian Loch, O.S.B.