January 27, 2016

Gospel MK 4:1-20
On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
“Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed 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
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”
And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
He answered them,
“The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that
they may look and see but not perceive,
and hear and listen but not understand,
in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.”
Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”
As we sow the seeds of Christ’s message among our children and grandchildren, our friends and acquaintances, there are times that it may seem that they “look and see but not perceive, and hear and listen but not understand…”
Do not be discouraged because although the attitude of people may at times appear to be “hard packed,” life’s hardships and blessings often open minds and hearts so they become receptive like “rich soil.”
I am reminded of “Bruce” who came to My Brother’s Keeper for the first time several years ago at Christmas time. Returning from a delivery at a local housing project he told me the following story:
“Jim, you won’t believe what happened to me. We delivered gifts to a family who was living in the same apartment where I grew up as a kid.
At Christmas, our mother used to tell us that Jesus would take care of us. I would keep my mouth shut but I never believed her.
I’ve had a lot of ups and downs since then and I finally learned she was right. And today, here I was being Jesus to another family living just like I used to live.
I just can’t get over how God brings it all together.”
We are called to live as loving Christians, sowing the seeds of Christ’s message and letting the seeds fall where they may.
“For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps…” John 4:37