Jesus used stories to teach people about the Kingdom. The stories are known as parables because they have unexpected endings. In the story about the sower and the seed, we automatically focus on the sower. He sounds like the main character. However, the real focus of this story is the dirt.
Throughout the different examples the sower is the same. The seed is the same. The emphasis is placed on the kind of dirt that receives the seed. Notice that the first example is a path. Who in their right mind sows seed on a path? Why would anyone place seed where people walk? A path has hard dirt—difficult to dig. Naturally the seed just stayed on top and birds ate it. Sounds like the folks who once upon a time were baptized into the Catholic Church, but nothing else happened. They claim to be Catholic, but the dirt is too hard. The seed cannot bare fruit. The rocky ground gives hope. However, as we know, almost anything can grow among the rocks, but there is not debt to the soil. The roots cannot go deep because of the rocks—like stony hearts. Old hurts, resentments, grudges can harden our hearts. The feelings are like rocks which give the seed little opportunity to grow—Like people who know all the rules, the Commandments, can quote the Bible but use their knowledge as just another way to be right—too much rock and not enough compassion. Some seed fell among thorns. Thorns are tricky. Some of the most beautiful flowers, the most beautiful plants have thorns. And we know what thorns can do—they can cause a lot of pain. In the story, the thorns choked the seed—sort of like the folks who do not enjoy life and don’t allow anyone else to enjoy life because of their bitterness. Negativity is contagious. Thorny people tend not to forgive themselves. They are trapped in their past. As a consequence, they refuse to forgive those who have hurt them. Consider that we all fluctuate between being one kind of dirt or another. But the sower is consistent. The sower does not discriminate on where and on whom He sows the seed.
The seed is the word of God—the Good News of Salvation. In essence, the word is our Faith—the seeds of Faith that have been planted in our heart with every Sacrament we receive. Obviously the sower is not prejudice. He knows who will produce good fruit and where the seed will be wasted and yet continues to give the benefit of the doubt. That’s called unconditional love. The seed is God’s grace—the gift of life. For without the seed, we can do nothing, we are nothing. Every moment of our existence—we owe to the seed of life.
One would think that the sower would wise up—that the sower would not throw seed on people who bear little or no fruit. In other words, that the sower would be more like we are. We could give the sower some suggestions because we like to say who’s in and who’s out. Sure, we say that we love everyone and we ask God to take care of all people, the poor, the rejected by society, the ones infected with the virus—“But just don’t bring them in here with us.” Especially in light of what is happening, we reserve the right to love people from a distance. Nothing wrong with that. But the sower is beyond our fears. In the end, the sower knows that the seed will take care of itself. The Kingdom will endure, regardless of the dirt. The Kingdom is about now and forever. Yet, we know that the life we live here affects our immortality. The way we treat each other leaves tracks. To the extent that we love, especially the least among us, is how we bear fruit. We hear the word, know the word, but how we act determines our productivity. Our yield starts at home. The Kingdom was here long before we were born and will continue after we die. However, this day the sower is sowing indiscriminately.
Our prayer is that we will be receptive—that we will yield much fruit in the way that we love each other, just like the sower loves us.