Monday, July 10, 2017

Parable of the Sower - July 16, 2017

The  Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time  A

Reading I: 
Isaiah 55: 10-11

Psalm:  65

Reading II: 
Romans 8:18-23

Gospel:  Matthew 13:1-23

As we all know, children can be very selective in their listening.
However, the child in us never is totally outgrown. Jesus knew that
and realized that His messages were not always received.

Also, sometimes the message given is heard differently by the
receiver. It could be a result of previous experiences, especially
emotionally charged ones. It could also be the result of lack of
knowledge or understanding. Communication is and always
has been a challenge. Jesus teaches about this in the Parable
of the Sower.

The seed is the word of God. It is scattered by the disciples and
and others who wish to share the Good News. As is illustrated in the above picture, the seed lands in a variety of settings. It can land on a hardened path and not take root. In that case, the birds and other creatures can enjoy it, but it doesn’t bear the fruit it was meant to produce. Sometimes, human hearts can be so hard that
the word of God simply does not sink into it.

Sometimes, the seed falls among rocks with little soil in the crevices and a light dusting on the rocks. Some of the seed may take, but the roots will not be deep or strong enough and the meager growth will be easily dried up and die. Sometimes, we are willing to listen to the word but it doesn’t reach deeply into our hearts, so we soon forget about it.

Other times the seed falls on fertile ground and there sustains wonderful growth. However, if the weeds are not removed they will choke the plants so that they, too, do not put forth the fruit which could have been produced. Sometimes, we are open to the word of God, but we do not nurture or care for it, so the fruit is less than it could be.

Finally, there is the seed that falls on good soil and flourishes. It is also cultivated by the farmer so that it thrives, bearing much rich fruit for the nourishment of many. While we would like to think of ourselves as good soil, sometimes we have to admit that we do not always take the time to cultivate the growth to its fullest.

 We have a garden here at Paul’s Run which is cultivated by the residents. They tend to it regularly, weed it, and even provide supports for the tall plants which might fall over without the help. As a result, we have sturdy blossoming plants which give forth a variety of flowers and vegetables. 

If we want to bear fruit from the seeds which the Lord provides for us in Scripture and other revelations of Himself through Nature and one another, we need to take time to contemplate the precious words of our God and savor them. When they take deep root in our hearts, they can be a source of inspiration, a lamp for our feet, and a support when life challenges weigh heavily upon us.

One of my favorite practices is to take a name of God and focus on it for a week or more. With the all the problems in our Country and the world, the title: “God Almighty” is a comfort to me. I like to use the Hebrew form El Shaddai. (The “ai” at the end is pronounced like the “uy” as in the word “buy.”) I cry out His name when I feel helpless in view of the serious issues of our times, realizing that the “Almighty One” will be with us no matter what the future holds.

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...

Parábola del Sembrador

Como todos sabemos, los niños pueden ser muy selectivos en su escucha. Sin embargo, el niño en nosotros nunca es totalmente superado. Jesús lo sabía y se dio cuenta de que sus mensajes no siempre fueron recibidos.

También, a veces el mensaje dado es oído de manera diferente por el receptor. Podría ser el resultado de experiencias anteriores, especialmente emocionalmente cargados. También podría ser el resultado de la falta de conocimiento o comprensión. La comunicación es y siempre ha sido un desafío. Jesús enseña acerca de esto en la Parábola del Sembrador.

La semilla es la palabra de Dios. Es diseminado por los discípulos y
Y otros que desean compartir la Buena Nueva. Como se ilustra en la imagen anterior, la semilla cae en una variedad de entornos. Puede aterrizar en un camino endurecido y no tomar raíz. En ese caso, las aves y otras criaturas pueden disfrutar de ella, pero no lleva la fruta que estaba destinado a producir. A veces, los corazones humanos pueden ser tan duros que la palabra de Dios simplemente no se hunde en ella.

A veces, la semilla cae entre las rocas con poco suelo en las grietas y un polvo ligero en las rocas. Algunas de las semillas pueden tomar, pero las raíces no serán profundas o suficientemente El escaso crecimiento se secará fácilmente y morirá. Algunas veces nosotros están dispuestos a escuchar la palabra, pero no llega profundamente a nuestros corazones, así que pronto olvidarnos de ella.

Otras veces la semilla cae en tierra fértil y allí sostiene un crecimiento maravilloso. Sin embargo, si no se eliminan las malas hierbas, se asfixiarán las plantas de modo que ellas, también, no pongan la fruta Que podría haberse producido. A veces estamos abiertos a la palabra de Dios, pero no la cuidamos ni la cuidamos, así que el fruto es menor de lo que podría ser.

Finalmente, hay la semilla que cae en buen suelo y florece. También es cultivado por el granjero para que se desarrolle, teniendo mucho fruto rico para el alimento de muchos. Si bien nos gustaría nos consideramos buenos terrenos, a veces tenemos que admitir que no siempre nos tomamos el tiempo para cultivar el crecimiento a su
más lleno.

Tenemos un jardín aquí en Paul’s Run que es cultivado por los residentes. Ellos tienden a él regularmente, la mala hierba, e incluso proporcionar apoyo para las plantas de altura que podría caer sin la ayuda. Como resultado, tenemos plantas florecientes resistentes que dan adelante una variedad de flores y verduras.

Si queremos dar fruto de las semillas que el Señor nos provee en la Escritura y otras revelaciones de Sí mismo a través de la Naturaleza y de los demás, necesitamos tomar tiempo para contemplar las preciosas palabras de nuestro Dios y saborearlas. Cuando toman raíz profunda en nuestros corazones, pueden ser una fuente de inspiración, una lámpara para nuestros pies, y un apoyo cuando los desafíos de la vida pesan sobre nosotros.

Una de mis prácticas favoritas es tomar un nombre de Dios y enfocarse en él durante una semana o más. Con todos los problemas en nuestro País y en el mundo, el título: “Dios Todopoderoso” es un consuelo para mí. Me gusta usar la forma hebrea El Shaddai. (El “ai” al final se pronuncia como el “uy” como en la palabra “buy”.) Yo grito Su nombre cuando me siento impotente ante los serios problemas de nuestro tiempo, dándome cuenta de que el “Todopoderoso” estará con nosotros sin importar lo que tenga el futuro.


  1. Throughout my life I have planted numerous seeds in the soil of the minds and hearts of family members, friends, and acquaintances. My intentional positive words carried the energy of inspiration and encouragement and came from a place of love – from my heart to theirs – in hopes that my message would take root and lift their spirts or provide support to make the changes in their life that they desired. The outcome of “planting the seed” wouldn’t be realized until sometime in the future. I trust the process because it is proven that good seed makes for a good crop.
    During his years of ministry, Jesus, the Master Sower, planted many seeds which promised an abundant harvest. His seeds were the message of the kingdom and as we read in today’s gospel parable, Jesus’ “salvation seeds” received varied responses. What is it that kept our predecessors, and keeps us today, from accepting these seeds which are guaranteed to yield succulent fruits?
    My personal story was that the soils of my mind and heart were overrun with deeply rooted weeds of fear, resentment, hurt, anxiety and an array of superficial issues. So while I found comfort in the words of Jesus and desired what they promised, there wasn’t any room for the message to germinate. The soil of my interior garden was hardened by societal seeds that I was struggling to nurture. Christ’s seeds could not take root in such depleted ground.
    Christianity, like gardening, takes perseverance. As followers of Jesus, we are commissioned to be sowers of the message. We are not to judge if someone is worthy of our time to engage in a discussion of the life giving graces available through embracing the faith. We need only plant the seeds. I believe that many of us, over the course of our lifetime, experience a spectrum of receptivity to faith ranging from barrenness to fruitfulness. Even in the depths of destructive behaviors there are moments of openness where we are able to receive God’s healing grace. Though we seek not the Lord, He pursues us. Speaking for myself, I had periods of clarity where I recognized the shallowness of clinging to worldly messages. It was in these glimpses that I was able to hear the messages of Jesus. Those faith seeds, coupled with repeated seasons of life that yielded no harvest, awakened me to my responsibility to choose a new way of living, a new path.
    Christianity, like gardening is also not a passive activity. Uprooting weeds takes a lot of work. There is a lot of resistance to releasing deeply rooted habits and beliefs. As weeds of negativity are replaced with seeds of faith our soil becomes fertile ground for truth and virtue. Our hearts and minds release old patterns, and through forgiveness - of self and others - love, kindness, and generosity start to take root. One day we recognize that we are living in a colorful garden surrounded with fresh new people and experiences. That’s the beauty of spiritual growth. It’s a lot like Miracle Grow- the garden product that enriches the soil so our plants and flowers grow and stay strong. To keep our spiritual gardens healthy and vibrant we need to continually feed and water the soil of our minds and hearts with faith and sacraments so the harvest takes root in our souls.
    When we invite Christ into our life, there is a lot of power and personal growth to be gained through sharing our “gardening stories.” Seeds of faith shared germinate. They nurture and support healthy Christian lifestyles, spiritual energy is generated which promotes growth and helps to protect our roots from being damaged and it keeps our soil balanced.
    It is perplexing that in such troubled times people are trending away from the Church. The need for Christ’s message is stronger than ever. We are called to be Sowers of the Word to plant the seeds of faith in those we encounter. Through God’s grace our efforts will produce results. Happy Planting!
    Your fellow sower, Pat C., ASBS

  2. Sr. Therese MW, SBSJuly 11, 2017 at 12:13 PM

    Very True! Psalm 65, the Responsorial, reminds us that "The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest." We need to "cultivate" our souls and accept God's messages wholeheartedly.

    The following excerpts are from an address by Pope Benedict XVI:

    "In this Sunday's Gospel (Mt. 13:1-23), Jesus recounts to the crowd the well-known Parable of the Sower. In a certain way, it is an 'autobiographical' passage, for it reflects the very experience of Jesus, of his preaching. He identifies himself with the sower who scatters the good soil of the Word of God and notes the different effects it obtains, in accordance with the way in which people hear the proclamation."

    "Some listen superficially to the Word, but do not take it in; others accept it at the time but are unable to persevere, and lose it all; there are those who are engrossed by worldly concerns and enticements; and those who listen receptively, like the good soil; here the Word
    bears an abundance of fruit."

    "Basically, God's true "Parable" is Jesus himself, his Person, the Person who, in the sign of humanity, hides, and at the same time reveals, his divinity. In this manner, God does not force us to believe in Him, but attracts us to Him with the truth and goodness of his incarnate Son. Love, in fact, always respects freedom."

    "May the Virgin Mary help us, through her example, to be 'good soil', where the seed of the Word may bear fruit in abundance."

    Pope Benedict XVI
    July 13, 2011