There is one well-known parable that Jesus taught that I especially like. It is the parable of the sower that was read at Holy Mass this past Sunday. Why do I like it? Because the message is so crystal clear! I also like it because after he articulates it to his disciples, he says the following: “Whoever has ears ought to hear.” This simple remark tells us, I think, that the message of this parable is extremely important. Let us briefly study it and see if we can see why.
The parable reads as follows (Matt 13:3-8): “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some of the seed fell on the path, and birds and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”
Without reading Christ’s explanation that comes next (Matt 13:18-23), I surmise that the seed is the Word of God which he is “sowing” in our hearts. Initially, we may be open to hearing it, but almost as soon as we leave the church after Mass, or other religious activity, it takes flight; we forget all about it. It is gone from our consciousness. The birds are the devil and his cohorts on our life's path. (“The birds came and ate it up.”) Or ... we don’t believe it and the little faith we experienced as it was spoken to us is not enough to sustain it. A little faith on top of hard-core doubt (rocky ground) is not enough. Our secular world scorches it and causes it to wither. Or ... perhaps we were open to it, but as soon as we hear the atheist’s argument against it (remember, we are talking about the Word of God here), we choke. Ah, the seed that is planted among thorns! But finally ... we have the seed that is planted in rich soil. This is when we take this “Word of God” seriously - we take it to heart because it finds itself in an open mind - open to the Word of God! And it flourishes! It “produces fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” We go through life constantly wanting to please God because his Word is in us and we are producing the fruit that God expects.
“Whoever has ears ought to hear.” Check to see if you have ears. Then go back and read this parable again. If you have faith that is sufficiently deep, you should see that it is extremely important. Take it to heart. Let if flourish! Let it produce fruit! You will feel better about yourself because you will be on a path to heaven. Amen. Alleluia!