“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.” -Luke 18:15
Some of us are good at taking care of plants and planting gardens. Before many people could afford a landscaper and a gardener, planting a garden and taking care of plants was a family affair. My mom would plant roses that survived and thrived. My dad would plant vegetable gardens year after year, and never had a bumper crop. We always managed to have some home-grown vegetables, but not consistently. One year it would be tomatoes, another year, carrots and yet another year, onions. After the planting of the seeds, he was constantly weeding and watering them. It was hard work, after a full day of labor. But he never gave up.
In today’s Gospel, St. Luke tells us the well-known parable of the sower to a big crowd of people who follow him. We are familiar with it: a farmer sowing seeds in a field that fall on different parts of the ground, the path he is walking, places where not all of the rocks had been removed, some where not all of the thorns had been weeded and the good ground that was well prepared.
The disciples needed an explanation, and Jesus gives it to them. Not all of the seed will produce a good harvest.
The Gospel ends with these words, “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.”
It doesn’t take a scripture scholar to see that Jesus is really talking about us as the rich soil of good ground that receives the seed (the Word of God) for harvest. But it is these last words that leave me wondering whether I truly embrace the Word of God when I hear it, not only embrace it, but embrace it generously. What does that mean?
The letter to the Hebrews describes the Word of God in this way: “Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12. We cannot hide from the Word of God, from its saving power and its call to conversion. It penetrates us to the core when we are ignoring it, turning our back on it, trampling it underfoot. It fills us with love and resolve when we embrace it generously. It is our Salvation!
Especially today, we need the grace of perseverance, to hang onto the Word of God when words of despair and powerlessness consume us, choke us with the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life. After all, the Word of God is the Word made Flesh, Jesus the Christ. He is our Lord and Savior!
Fr. Clemente Barrón, C.P. is a member of Mater Dolorosa Community in Sierra Madre, California.