Jesus instructs using a parable in today’s Gospel, Luke 8:4-15:
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.”
Several lessons can be learned through The Parable of the Sower. Today, I will share some of the thoughts I gathered after reading and reflecting upon it this week.
After hearing, receiving, and believing in the Word of God, we have to guard ourselves from letting ourselves believe his lies or giving into his alluring temptations.
After hearing the good news of the Word of God, we cannot let ourselves be caught up in the “Jesus High.” We cannot neglect the need to continue to learn, to pray, and to intentionally grow in our walk with Christ daily.
We cannot only maintain faith when conditions are favorable, our lives appear to be filled with positive things, or it is what our circle of friends believes at the time. Our faith needs to be unwavering, not based upon our mood or fortunate circumstances. We cannot allow our own desires to interfere with our beliefs and actions. It is also unwise to pick and choose aspects of our faith to believe.
We need to embrace the word of God with a “generous and good heart and bear fruit through perseverance.”
We have four examples of spirituality presented to us:
1. Along the Path
Hard ground, seeds stay on the surface.
Seeds are unable to grow.
There is a lack of understanding and thirst for knowledge of the word. Everything is very surface-level.
The Result: the devil comes and takes away what was starting the beginning stages of growth.
2. Rocky Terrain
Not enough soil, seeds are unable to take root.
Seeds grows immediately but does not last.
Fall away whenever there is trouble, temptation, or rejection because of His word.
The Result: The person quickly falls away from faith.
3. Thorny Ground
Thorns are growing in the ground taking away from what the seeds need to thrive.
No growth, no fruit.
Discouraged by the worries and daily stresses of life and gets caught up in the attractiveness of wealth and worldly things.
The Result: The seed is so overwhelmed, it cannot bear any fruit.
4. Good Soil
Healthy, fertile and rich.
Seeds grow abundantly and bear a lot of fruit.
The Result: The word is understood, actively improved upon, is extremely fruitful, and produces beautiful things!
Where is your seed trying to grow? As much as I try and desperately seek to be one of the seeds scattered on “good soil,” I definitely see myself falling into thorny ground at times. I worry way too much and tend to get caught up in being stressed and overwhelmed. What does this cause? A lack of fruit-bearing. When I am focusing my time and energy on my fears and anxieties, I am stifling my ability to produce fruit abundantly and flourish. Being caught up in our stressors, we are preventing ourselves from fully blossoming into all that we were created to be; fruit bearers from good soil!
So, how can we, children of God who have heard His Word, “embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit?” After all, we are all called to grow out of the good soil with solid roots that keep us firmly grounded during times of adversity. The seeds of faith have been scattered within us during our Baptism. The sacraments provide us with the water, sunlight, and nourishment that is needed to stimulate growth. Through our trials and suffering, we are able to grow stronger, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are made fertile and made fruitful. We must be open-hearted, eager to learn, grow, and strive for greater improvement. We must withstand and persevere times of adversity, being hopeful for the fruit that is to come. We need to nourish ourselves by attending Mass, receiving communion, cleansing ourselves through the sacrament of reconciliation, and diving deeper into God’s word through scripture and prayer.
Today, I encourage you to do one small action that will sprout growth. Spend 5 minutes reading the Bible. Maybe 5 minutes in silence, just being still. Do a Rosary. Avoid complaining. Google the answer to a question you have regarding the Bible or the Catholic faith. I will do the same. Let us all bear lots of fruit. Together, we will make an amazingly delicious and healthy smoothie!