23 September
Lk 8:4-15

When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to Jesus, he said in a parable: "A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold." As he said this, he called out, "Let anyone with ears to hear listen!"
Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that 'looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.' "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.

The soil is the heart; it is the place where the seed of God's word is to be received and hidden, and from where it will appear in its own time in a revolution of freshness and new life.  But the difficulty is that the soil is never perfect.

“Some seed fell along the path….”  The path is where everyone walks: it is public.  It is not a place of interest in itself; it leads elsewhere.  When you are on a path you are between places, you are nowhere.  The path has no interiority.  If I'm always on the way to somewhere else (and which of us isn't nowadays?) I'm nowhere, and the word of God cannot find a place in me.

“Some seed fell on rocky ground….”  The heart can be like a rock or a stone: solid, impenetrable, self-enclosed, separate, unloving and unloved….  “I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19). 

“Some seed fell among thorns….”  It has a chance to grow there, but everything else is growing there too.  My power is divided into a thousand parts, and only one is available for the word of God.  It is like flicking through the pages of a magazine: nothing remains in the heart, even though everything was promised.

“Some seed fell on good soil….”  It is good soil when none of the above applies.  Then the heart is deep and soft and silent.  Then I may hear the word of God. 

 

 

 
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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 

 

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