This morning’s Gospel passage is the explanation of the parable of the seed and the sower, which we heard on Wednesday morning. What we quickly find out is that the parable is all about us. Clearly the ideal is the good soil which produces much fruit, and just as clearly, we don’t want to be the soil on the path or the rocky soil, or even the soil with the thorny growth. All those soils yield nothing but dead plants, hardly an offering to God or even anything that would be pleasing to us.
When we allow ourselves to have a surface-level relationship with God, one that is not nourished by devotion and worship, we end up being easy picking for anything in the world that comes away and would snatch us out of the hands of God. Just like the soil on the path, such as it is.
When we think that we can live our faith without any kind of effort on our part, we end up with a very shallow basis for that faith. We sometimes latch on to the joy of religion or religious experience, but when it becomes hard work, we let go and have no way to keep growing. Just like the rocky soil.
When we try to live our faith and still be people of the world, we find that the faith gets choked out as our desire for more riches, more things, more prestige – or more whatever – overshadows our desire for strong relationship with God. We can’t serve two masters, and we soon take the path of least resistance, abandoning the faith for what we think will give us more happiness, at least right now. And when that fails us, we wither up and have nowhere to turn. Just like the soil with the thorny growth.
But it can’t be that way for disciples of the Lord. We have to have a faith that goes beyond the surface so that we can really know God. We have to have a faith that is developed by embracing the hard work of repentance and devotion so that we can continue to dig deep into the life of God. We have to have a faith that is single-minded and not subject to whatever ill-winds and thorns come along. We have to be that rich soil which yields not only joy for ourselves, but grace for others.