Year A: 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Matthew 13: 1-23
At this time of the year in the northern hemisphere, it is easy to see today’s Gospel in practice. Farmers and gardeners have sown the seeds - and are beginning to see the fruits if their labours.
Most gardeners will tell you that you always sow more seed than you think you will need - nature is generous but also seemingly wasteful! How many seeds lie within the poppy head or on the dandelion clock and how many will actually survive to produce seed of their own?
Jesus uses this everyday miracle - and puzzle to speak to the crowds in the parable of the Sower.
This is one of the Gospels that run the risk of becoming too familiar! We know the story - we have heard the explanation - and think that our work is done!
If so, we are in danger of becoming like the people Jesus describes when He quotes from Isaiah - dull of hearing and with eyes shut.
The beauty of parable is that there are layers of meaning. The one offered in the Gospel is just one possible meaning - chosen to explain what may have been going on in the life of the community. Why did the seed of the Word not bear fruit in everyone who heard it?
This explanation works in our day too - as we look around the world, we see fruitfulness - but also an awful lot of “waste”.
Jesus explains the deafness and blindness as a form of protection - if people really heard - really saw - they might well have to change - and what would they do then?
We may read this Gospel with a hint of complacency - we are reading it aren’t we? We understand it’s meaning. We are not like the rest... But is this really true?
Do we really hear the Word? Do we really look for its meaning for us? Do we allow it to take root in the good soil in our lives - or do we push it all to the edges - or allow it to get choked out by our day-to-day concerns?
Parables are more than nice stories. In the crowd hearing this, there would have been may who listened and enjoyed it as a story. The disciple is the one who puzzles about it - and asks Jesus to explain its meaning for them.
What does it mean for me?
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