Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne,
Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Compared to the highly efficient and GPS-guided farming methods today, the sower scattering seeds willy-nilly might seem wasteful, at best, and perhaps a bit stupid. A little more care in preparing the field or first taking out the thorn bushes might improve the chances for a plentiful harvest. At least that’s one way to look at today’s gospel from St. Matthew.
But the parable is not so much about a plentiful harvest, though we hear it was a bumper crop. The key line that jumps out to me is this: “Such large crowds gathered around him…” Some of those who came looking for Jesus were perhaps only curious, some skeptical, some hurting, and some longing for what they could not name. Then the gospel continues, “And he spoke to them at length in parables…”
He spoke to them all. For whatever reason they had come, Jesus shared the good news. He shared it generously and without judgment. He was living the parable himself by sowing God’s word and trusting that some of those words would fall on hearts ready to receive it, where it would take root and produce a great harvest. Certainly some of those listening would not or could not understand the good news, like seed landing on rocky ground.
Today’s gospel seems much more about generosity than efficiency. Jesus shares freely his love. Perhaps it is for us to prepare our minds and hearts to receive God’s word. Maybe we need to remove the stones and thorns in our lives, the prejudice and anger and judgmental attitudes so God’s word can take root and produce a great harvest in our lives.
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.