The Parable of the Sower

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Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time


Matthew 13:1-9

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.”


Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, open my spiritual ears to hear your word. Grant me true freedom that welcomes you with a spirit ready to obey your promptings.


Encountering Christ:


  1. Jesus’s Availability: During Jesus’s public life near the Sea of Galilee, he began to attract many followers. The large crowds were quick to find him and he attended to their needs, making himself available so that they would be fed, not only with food that nourishes the body, but with his word that nourishes the spirit. Two thousand years later he continues to make himself available, in his word and in the Eucharist. We need only to have a heart like those who sought him out and stood along the shore to take in every word and accept his gift of “our daily bread.”
  2. A Parable to Remember: Jesus used imagery that spoke to something very familiar in his followers’ lives— the sowing of seed. They could identify with the preparation of the land and all the elements that could work contrary to good cultivation of the seed. But the parable speaks to us today as well. Nature hasn’t changed. His words can still resonate in our twenty-first-century hearts. What are the thorns, the sun that scorches, or the rocky ground that threatens the life of Christ within us? How well do we cultivate the soil of our soul to receive the word of God? 
  3. Ears to Hear With: Jesus ended his parable saying, “Whoever has ears to hear, ought to hear.” He was reminding us that we are all capable of receiving his word, but perhaps we do not permit it. True listening requires the right disposition, which is a spirit ready to use our freedom to obey the voice of God. We must be ready, like Elijah, to hear God’s voice that comes as a soft breeze or whisper. We must be willing to root out the distractions that create thorns and rocky soil, so as to truly receive the Lord, ready and willing to speak to our hearts.


Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for revealing yourself and your holy will through your word. Help me to reverence you as I listen to sacred Scriptures. Help me to take the time to pray and ponder your word. 


Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will set aside time to pray with sacred Scriptures, asking the Holy Spirit to open my spiritual ears to hear what you wish to speak to me.

For Further Reflection: How Do You Pray with the Bible, Father Mike Schmitz.


Written by Jennifer Ristine.

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