O Christian, keep on planting God’s good seeds in the lives of those near to you.
– Fr. Charles Irvin
You can find the readings for the 15th Sunday in ordinary time cycle A here.
The scripture scholar will tell you that the readings for this Sunday start the third great discourse in Matthew’s Gospel. There are seven parables and the entire conversation is focused on the kingdom. We know that parables are intended to teach and there are many throughout the OT and NT. I know from experience that understanding a parable can sometimes be confusing, so as a teaching tool today we will break down one of the parables of Jesus.
The Parable of the Sower is one of my all time favorite parables in Matthew’s Gospel. Most people read the parable and recognize themselves as the ground. The sower is God and we are the hearers of the word of the kingdom. This, however, is not the best understanding of the parable.
The parable is about the Sower, and the Sower is better understood to be each of us rather than God. You are the Sower in the parable. We are God’s representatives on earth, so in a way you could say the Sower was still God, but for all practical purposes you are the Sower.
The word of the kingdom is the seed and we know the word of the kingdom to be 1)love God and 2)love your neighbor. We deliver the message of God’s kingdom every minute of every day to everyone we meet.
Every moment of every day, a mother and father are teaching and guiding each other and their
children, while witnessing about their love to the world beyond their home.
– Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap
This is what Jesus meant when he talked about the Sower. The parable also tells us that there will be those people we meet who will poorly receive the word of the kingdom. Not everybody is on the same path and open to the grace of God, but the Sower does not care where the seed goes. Some might say that the Sower is a little sloppy.
Why does the Sower spread the seed even in places where it cannot grow? John Shelby Spong said it the best; “I experience God as ‘the Source of love’ freeing me to ‘love wastefully,’ by which I mean to love without stopping to count the cost; without pausing to determine whether the recipient of that love is an appropriate recipient.”
“I love mankind … it’s people I can’t stand!!”
― Charles M. Schulz, The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 5: 1959-1960
The Peanuts cartoon is meant to bring humor, but there is a kernel of truth that makes it funny. As the Sower our role is to hold back nothing. If we are to have the kingdom of God on earth, as we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer, we must remember that we are the Sower and we spread God’s love around.
For years I have been giving myself out in words’ but ‘this new form of activity’ would not be merely talking about ‘the religion of love, but actually putting it into practice.
– Albert Schweitzer
If you take one thing away from the homily it should be to remember that you are the Sower and are expected to get sloppy with God’s love. This has to be part of our lives, and must be second nature. This is a task that does not always require speaking, but it always requires the word of the kingdom today at this very moment.