I use many different resources each day as I try to listen to God’s word and come to some understanding of the prophets and the Gospels. I was surprised when I read the various resources that I have on my desk for today’s reading from the Gospel. Every one of them concentrated on the type of soil which received the seeds being sown. Not one spoke of the sower. Yet the very first words that Jesus speaks in explaining this parable are: “Hear the parable of the sower.”
It does not take a genius to realize that no farmer would consciously sow seed where there is no hope of it yielding a harvest. However, this is not ordinary seed and it is not an ordinary farmer. We are talking here about God who is sowing the seed of His word. The act of sowing seed by hand is called broadcasting. The seed is thrown by hand. God does not distinguish between the various types of soil that will receive the seed. In other words, God gives everyone a chance even if it is evident that there is little hope that the person will actually heed God’s word.
In the first reading, Jeremiah tells us that God is calling rebellious children. The pairing of these two readings is fortunate because it reminds us that God never gives up in an effort to call all people to a relationship with him, even those who are rebellious. This is the very nature of God’s mercy. God does not discriminate between the good and the bad soil. Everyone is given a chance to listen to God’s Word.
Today we remember a Lebanese hermit, Sharbel Makhluf, a priest of the Maronite Rite of the Catholic Church. At the age of twenty-three he entered a monastery and lived the rest of his life in prayer and solitude. From time to time, his superiors would ask him to venture outside of the monastery to bring the fruit of his prayer to the people of his village. God’s word obviously had a profound influence upon his life. Though he may not be one of the better known saints of the Church, he is a wonderful example of someone who listened to God’s call and entered into a life-long relationship with God.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator