“On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
"A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came 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. Whoever has ears ought to hear." Matthew 13: 1-23
This parable is an easy one for us to understand. In the verses immediately following Jesus explains its meaning to his disciples. The Word of God is given to many people. In some it takes root and flourishes leading to a holy life. Others hear it and embrace it for a while until something else captures their attention. For some the Word of God falls on deaf ears and is rejected whole heartedly.
I would like to focus for a moment on the rich soil, the fertile ground. Rich, fertile soil is the dream of every gardener and the bane of his existence. You need good dirt to grow strong, healthy plants, but the very characteristics that make my soil good for growing a bumper crop of tomatoes are the exact same characteristics that make the soil good for growing weeds. Every gardener knows the constant battle to protect the good while eliminating the bad. Why do home grown tomatoes taste so much better than anything you can ever get from a store? Well, they are better in no small part to the amount of love, hard work, and sweat that goes into each and every one. Unlike Ronco rotisseries, you simply cannot just set it and forget it.
The Word of God is very much like seeds in a well tended garden. As long as we don’t have stony hearts God’s Word can always find a place to take root. It then is up to us to nurture those seeds so they can germinate and begin to grow. We need to tenderly care for the new plants. We need to keep them watered and pluck out any weeds that come in from the outside world. We need to feed the plants so that they will grow strong. A gardener’s reward is a bountiful harvest with much fruit. Some of this fruit is given to others to enjoy while some of it goes to seeding more plants. A gardener’s work is never done.
Today you have received the seeds of God’s word. May they find within you a fertile heart where they can take root and grow. Water and feed them daily through prayer and by reading Holy Scripture. If you wait until this time next week to visit your garden you will find that the seeds you have received today will have withered and died. A forgotten garden is quickly overgrown with weeds. Watch yours closely and don’t allow the seeds of the culture to grow better than the seeds from the Lord. Stay vigilant, tend your garden with great care and love and God will bring forth in you a bountiful harvest of the finest fruits.
Ears were made to hear and hearts were made to love. Hear the Word of God and enkindle it into your hearts.