Reflections: 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A
Is 55:10-11; Rom. 8:18-23; Mt. 13:1-23.
Our Gospel today is usually called “The Parable of the Sower.” And yet the sower is mentioned only at the beginning: ‘A sower went out to sow’ and not spoken of again. What is the concern of the parable? It is not the sower but the kinds of soil where the seed fell. There are four of them: 1) the soil in the foot path, 2) the soil on rocky ground, 3) the soil among thorns, and 4) the rich soil. The foot path is like that under coconut trees, along the rice field, or a trail on the mountains. The soil is fertile because at the edges many grass and other plants grow. But on the path itself because many feet tread, the soil is hardened and the seed stays on top, does not penetrate. A bird sees it and carries it away. This soil is like a hard heart that cannot be penetrated by the Word of God, the word and needs of the spouse and children. He is hardened by self-esteem and pride, selfish desires, disregard for the feelings of loved ones. He is impenetrable and hard hearted. The soil on rocky ground is thin and the roots of any plant cannot go deep to get nutrients. When the sun shines it gets heated by the stones, and when it rains the new plant is drowned. The stones are the heavy vices and sinful habits of this person; his heart cannot nourish love for God’s Word, nor pay attention to the feelings and needs of spouse and children. His love is superficial and shallow, weighed down by self-love. As for the soil on thorny ground, in Israel, the thorn is a vine whose branches are solid wood, its roots are strong and go deep into the soil. If the seed falls on this soil with thorns, it is choked by the strong roots and branches and cannot get enough nutrients from the soil, its growth is impaired. A heart can be full of fears and anxieties, attachments to material things, worries about health, vain glory for fashion and grooming. Attention, time and resources are wasted on inordinate worldly attachments, even though only one thing is important: LOVE, for God and spouse and family. The fourth kind of soil where the seed fell is not only fertile but also well pulverized; the grains are not tightly compact, but are spaced so that oxygen or nitrogen and other minerals can pass through and the roots can catch more nutrients, grow and bear fruit. In the elementary when our gardening teacher told us to prepare flower pots, we would simply fill a pot with soil and plant the flower in it. Later we learnt from florists and gardeners that it is good to mix in saw dust or moss to give space for the roots to catch nutrients from the soil. In life, we need to put space in our hearts for the Word of God, for the feelings and needs of our spouse and children. Then the roots of love can be nourished, grow and bear fruit. Is my heart open enough to receive God’s word, entertain the feelings and needs of my spouse and children? What kind of soil is my heart?