4 And when a great crowd came together and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: 5 "A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell along the path, and was trodden under foot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns grew with it and choked it. 8 And some fell into good soil and grew, and yielded a hundredfold." As he said this, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." 9 And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, 10 he said, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those 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.
Meditation: How good are you at listening, especially for
the word of God? God is always ready to speak to each of us and to
give us understanding of his word. Jesus' parable of the sower is
aimed at the hearers of his word. There are different ways of
accepting God's word and they produce different kinds of fruit
accordingly. There is the prejudiced hearer who has a shut mind.
Such a person is unteachable and blind to the things of God. Then
there is the shallow hearer who fails to think things out or think
them through; such a person lacks spiritual depth. They may
initially respond with an emotional fervor; but when it wears off
their mind wanders to something else.
Does God's word for you go in one ear and out the other?
Another type of hearer is the person who has many interests and cares, but who lacks the ability to hear and understand what is truly important. Such a person is for ever too busy to pray and to listen and reflect on God's word because he or she allows other things to occupy their mind and heart. Whose voice or message gets the most attention from you - the voice of the world with its many distractions or the voice of God who wishes to speak his word of love and truth with you each and every day?
A receptive heart and mind that listens attentively
Jesus compares the third type of hearer with the good soil that is ready to receive the seed of his word so it can take root and grow, and produce good fruit. A receptive heart and open mind are always ready to hear what God wants to teach us through his word. The "ears of their heart" and the "eyes of their mind" search out the meaning of God's word for them so that it may grow and produce good fruit in their lives. They hear with a listening ear and teachable spirit (Isaiah 50:4-5) that wants to learn and understand the intention of God's word for them. They strive to tune out the noise and distractions of the world around them so they can give their attention to God's word and find nourishment in it. They listen in order to understand.
God's word has power to change and transform each one of us if we receive it with trust (a believing heart) and allow it to take root in our inner being (the depths of our heart, mind, and soul). God's word is our daily food to nourish and strengthen us on our journey of faith to his everlasting kingdom. Do you hunger for God's word?
1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the lands!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the LORD is God! It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him, bless his name!
5 For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures for ever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: The Devil snatches good seed off the path, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)
"The seed is the Word of God. Those on the way are they who have
heard. Afterwards, the devil comes and takes away the Word from
their heart, that they may not believe and be saved. We see in a
moment that the hardness of the ground causes the seed on the
pathways to be snatched away. A pathway always is hard and
untilled, because it is exposed to every one's feet. It does not
admit any seed into it, but it lies rather upon the surface, ready
for any birds that will to snatch it away. All whose minds are
hard and unyielding, and so to speak, pressed together, do not
receive the divine seed. The divine and sacred admonition does not
find an entrance into them. They do not accept the words that
would produce in them the fear of God and by means of which they
could bring forth as fruits the glories of virtue. They have made
themselves a beaten and trampled pathway for unclean demons, yes,
for Satan himself, such as never can bear holy fruit. Let those
who are awake, whose heart is sterile and unfruitful, open your
mind, receive the sacred seed, be like productive and well-tilled
soil, bring forth to God the fruits that will raise you to an
incorruptible life."(excerpt from COMMENTARY ON
LUKE, HOMILY 41)