When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.”
As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that ‘looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.’
“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away.
As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
When we hear the parable of the sower in today’s Gospel, we know we want to be the good, rich soil. We want to be the person who, having heard the word of God, “embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.” But we also know that there are times in life when we may be more like the other types of soil. Perhaps we are the seed sown on rocky ground when we don’t work to deepen our relationship with God through personal prayer. We might be the seed sown among thorns when we allow our desire for more money, or prestige, or power, to become more important than our desire to follow Christ. But just as seeds are resilient and do what is necessary to grow, the good news is that God is always giving the seeds of our faith more opportunities to bloom and flourish.
How can you allow your heart to be fertile soil for God’s word to be planted within you?
—The Jesuit Prayer team
Lord God, you scatter the seeds of your word widely, so that all might have the opportunity to hear them and follow you. Help us to prepare our hearts to be open to your word, so that we can take it in and make it a part of our life. Guide our hearts to a deeper love of you. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer team