5th Sunday after Pentecost 13th July 2014
“Moses said to YHWH, “But, never in my life have I been a man of eloquence,
either before or since you have spoken to your servant.” Ex 4:10
God's Word Will Work It's Purpose The heart of Jesus' message is about the 'Reign or Kingdom' of God. The parables like that of the sower for this week's liturgy is a special way to help us know its significance. Matthew seeks to explain why some people do and some don't accept the way God wants to be in this world. There are two groups of listeners the disciples and the Pharisees. Jesus explains to the disciples why the coming Reign of God is not announced in spectacular ways. Jesus does not usually explain his parables but one is given. The parables can be heard in different ways and not wishing to outdo the Christ, I would like to share my response to the gospel words. In case you are already saying to yourself, “Heard that before, know that,” I ask you to listen again with a fresh heart. You just might just hear this parable in a new way.
In Jesus day a farmer would put a heavy seed bag on his shoulder and go out to his field to sow seed. The farmer would through seed across a fallow field before ploughing. The seed was first sown, and then gently ploughed into the ground. Some of the farmers precious seed, fell on a well worn path cut by foot traffic through the fallow field. So some seed landed on the path. And when it did, the birds quickly enjoyed lunch. Other seeds, said Jesus, fell on rocky ground. Because there was little soil there, the seedlings sprang up quickly and then withered under the scorching sun or those that fell into the thorns were choked off. Finally, some seed fell on good ground and brought forth a good crop yielding thirty, sixty, even a hundredfold. Jesus ended the story calling all to listen; listen carefully, deeply, thoughtfully. Listen! Jesus gave an interpretation to this parable that has endured down through the ages. Many believe that Christ’s interpretation of the parable, represents various kinds of people, and is the only legitimate interpretation. I believe, this parable can have, and does have many meanings? As with all of the parables, the key is to listen and let the word take root in our lives - that is to change us. I would like to share my response on this parable.
The parable could I believe be applied to every individual life? Our lives have worn, rocky, thorny, and good soil in which seed of God's word can grow. If your life is like mine, daily living has created well-worn paths. They can be called ruts. Routines are often required, but sometimes in our relationship with God, routines can become ruts. We can attend church week after week, hear the scriptures read (like this parable), sing familiar hymns, go through the church routine, and in so doing, give the good seed God sows us to the birds of indifference. It happens and may be happening even now. God’s seed also falls on the rocky places of our lives. Life, by definition, can leave us cold, sharp, soil-less, and rough. Pain, the cruelty of insensitive friends, and the cutting comments of strangers can leave us lifeless and unmoved, like hard rocks void of God’s bounty. The thorns of negative thinking that can choke out the ways of trust and faith, robbing us of God’s promise. We have all heard and believes too many unloving voices.
Thank God, some seed falls on good ground out of open trust. When it does, the miracle of growth and harvest happens. I think of the people who have started to tell me a story about their life with the words: “You’ll never believe what happened to me.” Or, “I had no idea God could take what I did and use it to bless another’s life.” Or, "I never thought I would find my way of the burden of pain I was carrying." We all have a story. Look back and see the times God sowed good seed in the good ground of your soul, and how from a small beginning came a result that still leaves you amazed. There will always be parts of us that are worn out, rocky, wasted, and good. But the gospel reminds us there is far more good in all of us in which God’s grace can take root. All types of ground exists in the fields of our lives. We are invited by the parable to clear out the rocks of hardness of heart, to cut down the thorns of negativity, to change the routines of life sometimes, to not listen to the birds that do not speak of Christ and the gospel way and to give God even more opportunities through prayer and silence to grow into the generous, loving person God in Christ made us to be? I invite you to LISTEN once again to Christ's words and so to discover the amazing work of God in and through your beautiful life. God is working in you patiently and carefully - just LISTEN you may hear it grow.