The Parable of the Sower in today’s Gospel from St. Mark is one of the most familiar stories in scripture. We know what happens to the seed once it is sown. Unlike how it is done today with GPS-guided planters, then the seed was sown not haphazardly exactly but likely strewn upon land not perfectly cultivated. So, what happens? Birds come and eat the seed. Some seed falls on rocky soil so it can’t take root. For some seed, it begins to grow but is taken over by weeds. Yet some flourishes.
As followers of Jesus who are committed to sharing in his ministry, we sow the Word of God in word and action. But in all the commentary about this parable, the seed is presumed to be the true Word of God. The focus is always on those who receive the Word…or don’t. But I have been reflecting on whether I am sowing the Word of God or my own. In my interactions with my family and colleagues, I wonder how authentic the “seed” is that I am sowing.
We live in a sad world of mass disinformation, of sowing seeds of doubt. It is not about where the seed lands. It is the quality of the seed itself. Is it truly the Word of God? Or is it our own bias and preferences that we sow? We dare to speak for God with words that will never take root and grow to bear great fruit.
We might take to our prayer St. Paul’s treatise on love from I Corinthians 13 and ask if the words we sow are words of truth and love:
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Robert Hotz is a consultant with American City Bureau, Inc. and was the Director of The Passion of Christ: The Love That Compels Campaign for Holy Cross Province.