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The Seed Sower
Saturday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable. “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew, it withered for lack of moisture. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced fruit a hundredfold.” After saying this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.” Then his disciples asked him what the meaning of this parable might be. He answered, “Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you; but to the rest, they are made known through parables so that they may look but not see, and hear but not understand. This is the meaning of the parable. The seed is the word of God. Those on the path are the ones who have heard, but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved. Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear, receive the word with joy, but they have no root; they believe only for a time and fall away in time of temptation. As for the seed that fell among thorns, they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along, they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit. But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.”
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord, create in me a heart only for you. May you say of me, “Blessed are you who have kept the word with a generous and good heart and have yielded a harvest through perseverance.” May your will in me be done. Thank you, Jesus.
- Journeying to Jesus: “Large crowds” of people “journeying to Jesus” from “one town after another” came to him with a variety of abilities of understanding, levels of education, and beliefs about God. Despite their varied backgrounds, the truth Jesus came to preach was accessible to them because it was already written on our hearts; this truth resonates deeply when we’re open to hearing it. “I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33). The parables Jesus told communicated profound truths in a simple way to the very diverse group of listeners gathered, and they have, throughout the ages, continued to help make these truths accessible to us. Then, and now, his message is for each of us to hear, and it will be understood as each of us chooses to receive it.
- Seeds of Grace: The sower in this parable seemed to sow randomly. He did not have a designated field he had prepared carefully for planting. He just sowed as he walked, scattering seed everywhere—some on trampled paths, some on rocky ground, some where thorns grew, and some on good soil. What a beautiful image of God the Father, who sows his grace widely and liberally in souls. Whether we are dusty and dried out, rocky, or full of weeds, God reaches out to us, inviting us to accept the seeds of his grace and allow them to fertilize the soil of our souls so that we can bear fruit for his Kingdom. To strengthen us, he offers the sacraments. To nurture us, he offers encounters through prayer. What grows in our souls from these seeds of grace is faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him. Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and ‘makes it easy for all to accept and believe truth’” (CCC 153).
- Divine Gardener: With the right amount of sunlight, water, and fresh air, a seed’s outer shell will break down and the kernel within it will take root. A soul also needs favorable conditions to flourish. A trampled path (works of the devil), rocky ground (times of temptations), and thorns (anxieties and riches and pleasures of life) can inhibit or prevent the growth of a soul. Jesus tells us what we need to do to blossom: we must embrace the word with a generous and good heart, persevere in faith, and stay close to the sacraments. By God’s grace, we can also help to bring about a great harvest in other souls by how we live our lives, treat others, and speak of God. “The witness of a Christian life and good works done in a supernatural spirit have great power to draw men to the faith and to God.” (CCC 2044)
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, you find every way to reach me so that I can follow you as you draw me to our Father. I will be your fruit bearer and I will help you bear fruit in others if you help me to cooperate with your grace. Thank you for your tender gardening in my soul and thank you for including me in your work of salvation.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will contemplate the Gospel and allow you, the Divine Gardener, to sow your word in me.
For Further Reflection: Contemplate what happens to a soul who loves God while watching this time lapse video of seed to flower.
Nan Balfour is an events coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, a Catholic Evangelization Ministry that answers Christ’s call by guiding people to encounter him so as to live in hope as pilgrims in daily life. She is also a mother, writer, and speaker on Catholic topics.