15th Sunday of ordinary Time
THE SOWER IN THE FIELD
This weekend we arrive at the fifteenth Sunday of ordinary time. Lent and Easter are but a distant memory and we are now gearing up for the July holidays. This Sunday we hear the Gospel story of the sower who went out to sow the seed. For me the story is really about the seed of faith with Jesus the sower and you and me as the soil on which the seed that is the word of God lands.
The context of today’s parable provides some insight into its interpretation and application The parable is located between stories of confrontation and rejection. As the early church faced opposition and a seeming lack of success, the parable must have given encouragement to the first preachers and members of the early church a promise of fruit not yet visible to them. Jesus is speaking to a large crowd. They may be listening to what he says, but as it is today some will follow him and others will leave it all behind and go their own way.
He is realistic as he seems to randomly cast his words out upon the crowd. What he says will not seem to bear fruit – not straight away. Often that wee seed of faith may take root many years after it has been planted and today we see many people returning to the faith or coming to the faith for the first time after someone or some event in their lives planted that first seed with others helping nourishing the seed and helping it to grow.
What is striking about the parable is the amount of waste I’m sure those who are reading this who are recyclers will be horrified. The bulk of the details are about wasted effort and lost seed. Why wasn’t the sower more careful, after all farmers were poor and the seed was precious? Sometimes, we wonder if all our efforts and words are worth it when things are falling down around us. But if we stop for a moment and think about it anything done for God in faith is never lost.
Very often things that are happening in our lives don’t seem to be the way we might want them to be but when we look at the problems with eyes of faith we see that things around us are the way they are meant to be for the good of all. We also get the strength to deal with the problems that go on through and in faith. Nobody really knows what’s beneath the surface of the soil we cast the seed of the word of god upon. Who knows the potential of the good soil? Do good and poor soil both exist in the same person I think that it most probably does much in the same way that a person can do good or be bad. Is there something we might say that will land on the interior good soil in a person and bear the “hundredfold, or sixty or thirtyfold” Jesus promises? who knows only God knows.
While the gospel parable begins with and spends time on hardships and failure it ends in surprise and abundance. What was the source of this abundance? We look to what Isaiah told us today in the reading about the fertile, life-giving nature of God’s Word. Our God is a God of surprises and our faith is also filled with so many surprises as well.
Despite any discouragement we might feel because our efforts on God’s behalf in many things seem futile and draining, we put our trust in the one who speaks to us a living word who sows the seed. The message of Jesus may not always be welcome especially in our modern world were faith and religion are constantly under assault by those who oppose the Christian faith based outlook on life. That said we still have to sow the seed of faith by what we do and say and then we leave the rest up to God our efforts are never futile and we don’t always see the fruit of the seed that s sown. Let us remember that tall oaks from little acorns grow. and Our God is a God of surprises and our faith is also has many surprises as well.