Jesus gives a God’s eye view of men’s responses to His Gospel in the Parable of the Sower. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Fruit of Faithfulness from the Holy Spirit so he can draw close to God in prayer and grow in fruitfulness and by by building the Virtue of Temperance so he can always strive to be an excellent steward of Creation.
3rd Week in Ordinary Time – Wednesday – Mk 4:1-20
Teaching great crowds by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus speaks from a boat to teach those on the shore; using His knowledge of natural acoustics and His robust voice, the thousands on the shore can hear Him. Jesus teaches with parables; a parable is a short story that uses familiar images to help receptive men to ponder a cryptic deeper Divine Truth. Jesus uses parables to draw the humble to ponder and hunger for God, to conceal His teachings from the prideful, and to pronounce judgment on those who reject Him.
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus uses familiar agricultural imagery to connect with the crowd, and Jews would recall the “Sower” often refers to God in the Old Testament (Is 55:10-11; Jer 31:27-28). Jesus describes four different reactions (Soils) to God’s (the Sower) announcement (Sowing) of the word of the Kingdom of Heaven (the Seed). Men who hear but don’t care to understand the Kingdom (the path) are seduced by the Evil One/Satan (the birds). Men who hear but only have an initial shallow emotional reaction (rocky ground with shallow roots) fall away when tribulation and persecution (the scorching sun) occurs. Men who hear but prefer and are choked by the pleasures of the world (the thorns) fail to bear fruit. Men who hear, understand and persevere to enter the Kingdom (the good soil) bear extraordinary fruit (disciples, love) for Jesus, the King.
Jesus seeks men who will hear, understand, have faith in Him and His Kingdom of Heaven, and who bear much fruit (the good soil). All others in Jesus’ parable who fail in faith face bad outcomes: some are seduced by Satan, others are “scorched” by troubles in the world and some are “choked” out by riches and pleasures and become sterile. Only the “good soil” men will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be awed by Jesus, the Divine Prophet: the perfection of Human Knowledge, He purposefully incarnates and has an intimate experience and love of Creation which He uses to proclaim the truth of God’s love; Divine Knowledge, Jesus accurately surveys, assesses, and summarizes four categories of reaction to His Gospel; He teaches with mysterious parables which are designed to be obtuse and confusing to those who lack true desire for God but are understandable and memorable to those hungry for God; Divine Judge, He mercifully Warns men of their coming destruction if they reject Him.
Pray for robust faith and exceptional fruitfulness
Realize: In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus condemns men’s lack of faith (indifference, shallow emotionalism, preference for the world) and calls men to a robust and enduring faith which proves true in exceptional fruitfulness.
Believe: Reflect upon Faith (CCC 142-165).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me Faithfulness so I have a deep and abiding faith based on belief and love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and I become “good soil” which bears exceptional fruit for Your Kingdom.
Strive to be an excellent steward of Creation
Realize: In contrast to the relentless and reckless exploitation of Creation which results in pollution, illness, the extinction of creatures, and the destruction of beautiful wild places, in the Parable of the Sower, Jesus confirms His intimate knowledge and care for Creation.
Believe: Reflect upon the need to Respect the Integrity of Creation (CCC 2415-2418, 2456-2457).
Pray: Jesus, King of Creation, help me build the Virtue of Temperance so I am moderate and frugal in consumption and I strive to be an excellent steward who protects the blessings of Creation God has allowed me to inherit.