SOWER AND THE SEED

Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J

Table of Contents

PARABLES

SOWER AND THE SEED

WHEAT and WEEDS

THE RICH FOOL

THE PRODIGAL SON

DIVES AND LAZARUS

WORKERS IN THE VINYARD

WEDDING FEAST

THE GOOD SAMARITAN

THE UNFORGIVING SERVANT

SALT and LIGHT

THE PHARISEE AND THE TAX COLLECTOR

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“A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed some seed fell on the path and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep and when the sun rose it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots. But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

This parable is in all three synoptic Gospels. (Matt. 13:1-9; Mark 4:2-20; Luke 8:4-15)
It is a very concrete illustration of the very abstract philosophical dictum, “Whatever is received is received according to the disposition of the recipient.” It other words, it takes two to tango. Augustine expressed it well, “God who created us without our willing it will not save us without our willing it.”

God is the sower and he is constantly sowing his Word in creation, in our selves, in Scripture and in the events of our lives.

IN CREATION: Nature speaks in exclamation point about God. “There are tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stone and God in everything.” “I see his blood upon the rose and in the stars the glory of his eyes…” “Every bush is burning.”

IN OUR SELVES: Not only do we have a natural intuitive knowledge of the existence of God we have an orientation, a thrust to God. This innate, insatiable drive for God is constantly drawing us to God. It is the existential need of the creature for the Creator. Augustine said it best, “Lord, you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

IN SCRIPTURE: Scripture was originally a personal experience which was handed down orally at first and then later written down. So it is a record of religious experience. But Scripture is also creative of a religious experience. For example, as the disciples on the road to Emmaus experienced, “Was not our hearts burning in us as he opened the scripture to us.” Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch, “There is water what is there to stop me from being baptized?” This is also expressed in the First Reading from Isaiah.

IN THE EVENTS OF OUR LIVES: We are not the architects of our lives, God is. Nothing happens in this world by chance; God either positively wills it or at least permits it. And to those who love him all of these things work together for good.

WE ARE THE SOIL. At one time or another, or sometimes all in one day, we can identify with each one of these types of soil. We have been the hard, impenetrable ground of the footpath, the soil that is overgrown with the thorns of worldly and material concerns, the shallow superficial soil of the rocky ground, and also the deep, rich soil that yields a hundred fold.

WE ARE ALSO THE SOWER. When we have received the seed we become the sower. Whether or not we realize it we are constantly sowing the word of God by what we say, do and the way we live. St. Francis confessed, “I am constantly preaching the word, sometimes I use words.” Jesus is the medium and the message; in Jesus, the medium is the message. We also are the medium and the message; in me the medium is the message. And the message is the Gospel according to me. And that is the only message some will read the Gospel according to me.

Claire Booth Luce once told a group of seminarians, “What you are shouts so loud I cannot hear what you are saying.” And someone else said, “Don’t tell me what Jesus can do for me, show me what Jesus has done for you.” Or as Nietzsche, the God is Dead philosopher, told the Christians of his day, “If you want us to believe in your Redeemer look more redeemed. You don’t look redeemed to me.” Walker Percy said, “A Christian should give the impression that he is on to something I don’t know.”

OUR TASK IS TWO-FOLD. To receive the word with a good heart and share it with others. Disciple and apostle are two sides of the same coin. The Good News is not something you can keep to yourself.

That is the dynamic in the Mass. We come together as soil. The Lord sows the seed abundantly in the Liturgy of the Word and then waters it with His Body and Blood in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. And then with His blessing we go forth as Sowers to sow the seed. We become the message. And the message is the Gospel according to me.

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