SFX Bulletin, 13 July 2014: Over three Sundays starting from today, the gospel will be on God’s Kingdom which Jesus teaches through parables. Parables have been called “earthly stories with heavenly meaning”. The word itself comes from the Greek “parabole”- a literary device used in Greek literature to inspire deeper thought and reflection. As such, there will be images that amaze, puzzle and even disturb us. Propelling us to deeper pondering, we will find the “heavenly meaning” – the saving truths needed in our conversion so that we can embrace that Beatitude of blessed happiness God desires for everyone.
In today’s parable of the sower, we find that God’s loving wish for every person’s happiness can become obscured – especially if other things and not Him have priority. Preferring a broad road and wide gate (cf. Mt. 7:13) of unrestrained “morality” unhindered by doctrinal and biblical truths, we may be keeping God on “the edge of the path” – putting Him on the periphery of our lives and treating Him like a life-buoy – to reach out to only when we are sinking.
We may also be like the second type of people in today’s parable - “patches of rock (with) little soil”. We like religious hype but do not root our faith. As such, “let some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, and (we) fall away at once” (v.21). An example of this is not making the effort to pray and contemplate the faith so that we become sure of God’s presence in our lives and in the Church. When God is allowed to fill our being, we are unafraid of any doubts hurled at the Church or the faith because we know that the Church is not man-made. Jesus himself established and sustains the Church here on earth as his mystical body (cf. CCC771).
The third type of unfruitful soil highlighted by Jesus is the soil that is already planted with “thorns” – “the worries of this world and the lure of riches” (v.22). Such a person loves worldliness more than God and allows God’s encouragement to be “choked…and so produces nothing” (v.22).
Through this parable of the sower, Jesus urges us to strive to be “rich soil” for the sower – “the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty” (v.23). God is not a hard taskmaster. The yields may vary in fruitfulness but remains pleasing to God.
Like the sower who wastefully scatters his seed on the path, rocks and thorn-infested ground, God is generous with His grace. He allows His salvation to “rain down” on everyone in the hope that all will respond in faith and love (cf. Isa. 45:8) and become sure of their place in God’s Kingdom.
Knowing God’s generous hopeful love should encourage us today not to despair even if, moved by the Spirit, we realize that we are hardened, arid and unresponsive to God. We should, instead, ask God to help cultivate us to become people of sure faith and joyful fruitfulness. People with hearts that are not “coarse”, ears that are not “dull of hearing” and eyes that are not “shut” to His self-giving love on the cross (v.15).
Bible Sunday reminds us that God’s grace overflows through the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, 'The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures just as she venerates the body of the Lord…in the sacred liturgy, she unceasingly receives and offers to the faithful the bread of life from the table both of God's word and of Christ's body” (DV.21).
God saturates us with His salvation so that we can be “freed…from slavery to decadence, to enjoy…freedom and glory as the children of God (Rom.8:21). Let us be entirely pliant and yielding to Him.