We are used to Jesus speaking in parables as we have read them over and over again. However, in today’s passage from St. Mark’s Gospel, it would seem that the apostles are not familiar with this particular style of teaching. He seems to say that if they don’t understand this parable, how will they ever understand any parables that he might use?
Yet this parable can be read in different ways with different points of emphasis. Is it a parable about the seed, about the sower, or about the field in which the sower broadcasts the seed? I personally find it interesting to focus on the sower. We are told that the seed falls on several different kinds of soil, but that it will only thrive in rich and fertile soil. So why does the sower bother with casting the seed on soil that will never allow the seed to come to fruition.
Perhaps the parable is teaching us that God sows the seed of the Word among all kinds of people, even among those who will simply ignore it. The Word of God is available for all people regardless of their personal inclination to listen to it. God might even be called wasteful in this effort to reach all people. This is a great lesson in God’s love. God’s love is lavished upon each of us, no matter what kind of reception that love is apt to find. God does not give up on the one who is lost or who has been led astray by the distractions of the world. God stands ready to receive and forgive all those who turn toward him and receive him even after having formerly rejected that Love.
We gather in the presence of that Love every time we gather around this table, for this is the banquet of God’s word and of Jesus’ Body and Blood. One could not ask for a greater sign of God’s love than the Eucharist.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator