We’ve all heard this gospel parable about the sower and the seeds dozens of times. We know, then, that the seeds are the Word of God: not just some words, but Word with a capital “W,” which is Jesus himself, God’s eternal Word, spoken to bring life to a world dead in sin. We know that the seeds are that presence of Christ which fall on hearts that are variously rocky, or thorny, or rich and fertile. We’ve heard the parable, with Jesus’ own explanation, as well as homilies about it, so many times.
What stood out to me this time as I read it is how very easy it is to not receive that Word and grow in it. All it takes is losing our focus: paying attention to something that seems (at least at the time we see it) more enticing than the Word of God. Then we wither up on that wrong path. Or we might not tend to the Word of God in our hearts and then some temptation or tragedy comes along and we perish on the rocky ground. Or we may even, through neglect, get choked out by the things of this world.
Obviously, we need to provide rich soil for the word to grow. And, this time of the year, it almost doesn’t make sense to talk about it. The liturgical cycle usually conforms to the calendar, more or less, and so why this parable about sowing seeds now, right on the verge of autumn when the harvest is pretty much over? Nobody in their right mind sows seeds this late in the year, certainly not in our climate!
But God does. He sows the Word among us all the time: every day and every moment. It’s not just once for the season, and if the seeds don’t grow, then try again next year maybe. He is constantly sowing the seeds in us, urging us to make of our hearts rich, fertile soil for the Kingdom. And we do that by enriching the soil through reception of the Sacraments, participating at Mass, enlivening our prayer life, being open to the Word.
The Sower is out sowing the seeds of his Eternal Word all the time. Let’s give him fertile ground, that we might yield a rich harvest.