Sowing and Growing

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Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 13:1-23

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.” The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and be converted, and I heal 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. Hear then the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, may my heart be always open to receive your word and to find in the Scriptures food for my soul, so that in knowing you I can be an instrument of your grace for the world. 

Encountering Christ: 

  1. Always Sowing and Growing: Jesus came to establish his Kingdom. He desires that the seed of his truth, love, and mercy take root and grow in every heart, family, and community. With absolute confidence, he is always sowing, knowing that his Kingdom will endure and withstand any obstacle. As to where the seed falls and what type of soil it takes root in, this is up to us. Jesus wants the soil of our hearts to be fertile. Since the Kingdom of Christ is alive and is always taking root and growing, how in my heart is this soil rocky, thorny, or rich to receive it?
  2. What Do We Hear and See: Jesus’s presence and the words he spoke were appealing, enthralling, and mesmerizing to so many. He spoke of the mysteries of heaven using parables, not to convince minds but to open and change hearts. He invites us to recognize him in his Lordship not as a wielding or forceful commander, but as a gentle, hidden, and quiet presence within the recesses of our hearts. We understand, “To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Mt 13:12) as the seed of his Word dwelling within us. 
  3. The Fruit and the Yield: From a seed, the word that is heard and understood bears in our hearts fruit that is out of proportion to its humble beginnings and our efforts. This truth reminds us that our faithfulness to the movements of grace in our souls has eternal consequences. Souls that are filled with Christ’s love are spreading God’s goodness far and wide, and the full effects will only be known in heaven. In our daily endeavors, let us always labor with the hope of future fruits for the Kingdom of Christ.

Conversing with Christ: Open my ears and my heart, Lord, to see and think of things not according to my earthy perspective but according to your grace. Let not the scandal of seeing the weeds surprise or discourage me, but rather strengthen my resolve to accept your will and seek to do good in whatever way I can today. Help me to be patient, to not worry, and trust you are in control through your Word taking root and bearing fruit in my life. 

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will spend an extra moment reflecting and noting in my journal the ways your grace is growing in my soul, within my family, and in my community. 

For Further Reflection: Delve deeper with this video on The Parable of the Sower by Fr. John Bartunek, LC from “Strength of Thousands: A Retreat Guide on the Sacrament of Confirmation,” a free, do-it-yourself retreat available in video format, audio, and PDF download.  

Written by Lucy Honner, CRC.

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