This Sunday we celebrate Christ who sows the seed of God’s word in our hearts. In the light of Isaiah’s prophecy and the Christ’s parable of the sower, the Church enjoins us to evaluate our relationship with the Word of God. So, we must ask ourselves today: What has the word of God achieved or changed in my life?
Today’s Readings are about the transforming power of the word of God when read, preached, and lived. They also warn us not to be disappointed at the absence of immediate results. We must take a positive and optimistic view of our missionary efforts, as we keep on bearing witness to Christ’s Gospel through our transparent Christian lives, instead of turning cynical and becoming depressed. The parable of the sower in today’s Gospel challenges us to listen intently to God’s Word, to be open to it, and to allow our lives to be shaped by its power. The parable reminds us that man’s reception of God’s Word is determined by the condition of his heart.
In the first Reading Isaiah compares the Word of God to the rain and snow that falls on the ground: “As the rain and snow come down from the heavens without watering the earth…so my words do not return to me empty, without fulfilling its mission…” This is because the Word of God is viable and active. It has the full potency to rejuvenate and nourish our life. As a two-edged sword, (Heb 4, 12), it also acquits and convicts one. So, either way, it accomplishes its mission because: “The word of God is, yes and Amen” (1 Cor 1, 20).
In the second Reading Paul makes a very important statement: “…Creation is eagerly waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God…” This manifestation means to reveal what is within us. Therefore, as vessels filled with the Word of God, we are expected to emit good fragrance when we are eventually manifested.
What is to be revealed are the fruits of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, and the anointing we received in Christ. This means that as adopted children of God, who bear His Word, there is a great expectation from us. Hence, the product of this expectation should be positive. It must be edifying because the seed of the Good News sown in us was viable.
Today’s Gospel teaches us that the Word of the Lord is the seed and our hearts and minds are the soil. The seed’s good spiritual yield in one’s life depends on how fully one willingly accepts and responds to the Word of the Lord. The yield arising from the positive response will be abundant beyond all imagining.
In this Gospel Jesus employs the parable of the sower to speak personally to each one of us. If we sincerely examine ourselves in the light of today’s parable, we will convincingly find our place within it. The spreading of the seeds everywhere without considering the nature of the soil and where they fall, is an indication of God’s willingness to give everyone the opportunity to hear his Word. It shows the universality of Salvation and a sign that God has no favorite. He wishes that all nations hear the Good News, repent and live, (Acts 10, 34).
One point is clear from both the first Reading and today’s Gospel. This is the fact that the Word of God is a viable seed. In other words, the problem is not with the seed, rather, the problem is always with the receiver. That is, one’s attitude towards the Word of God. The parable tells us to do our part by preparing fertile soil in our hearts for the Word of God to yield 30-, 60- or 100-fold.
Unfortunately, for some of us, God’s word has lost its meaning and significance. It has become an old-fashioned story repeated for ages. Anyway, let us listen to it once more and continue with our lives! For others, it is an obstacle on our way as Paul said: “…We proclaim Christ crucified, (the Word of God Made flesh), a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Cor 1,23). Glory be to God, for many it is still alive and new every day.
The way we receive, value and treat the Word of God determines who we are and what it achieves in and for us. It is not meant to be received and quarantined. Rather, it is meant to be lived. It is not meant to be passive in us, rather, it is meant to nourish and become one with us, just as food forms flesh and becomes one with our mortal bodies. It is supposed to shape our personality, that is, the way we live, speak, walk, and relate. So, as it was one with God who sent it, (In the beginning, Jn 1, 1-4), so, it is meant to become one with us.
The Word of God shapes our faith, and our faith depends on it. St. Paul reminds us that: “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ.” (Rom 10:10-17). May God help us to grow and mature in our faith through His life-giving Word which we hear every day.
We also need to ask God’s special grace to remove all types of impediments, such as laziness, anxiety, worries and the burden of unrepented sins, any of which can prevent the Word of God from influencing and transforming our lives. When we receive Jesus, the Word of God and the Source of the Word of God in Holy Communion, we need to ask Him to transform our lives so that we may see Jesus in all of us, (for we are all brothers and sisters in Him), and share with each of them Jesus’ unconditional love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness.
We need to keep our spiritual soil fertile and prepared for the Word of God. We need to keep our hearts open to the Word of God instead of closing it through pride, prejudice, fear, anger, jealousy or laziness. We need to remove from our hearts the weeds of evil habits and addictions, evil tendencies, hatred, jealousy, fear, discrimination and greed. We should not allow the trials and tribulations of this world, the cares of this world, our ambitions, materialism or our desires for worldly success and happiness to choke out the messages that God gives through His Word.
Jesus challenges us in the parable of the sower to sow seeds of encouragement, joy, and reconciliation regardless of the “soil” on which it is scattered, and to imitate the seed’s total giving of self that becomes the harvest of Gospel justice and mercy.
Fr. Jude, CSSp