The Soil, the Seed and the Sower
23 July 2021, Friday of the 16th Week in the Ordinary Time
Mt 13: 18-23
Parables, which are thought-provoking, enable us to raise questions. For those who listened intently to the Gospel and for those who read the Gospel passage prior to our liturgy today, what questions can you ask? For catechists, they would ask their learners, “Who are the characters in the story?” For literature experts, they ask, “What are the highlights of the story?” For those who venture into psycho-spirituality, their question might be, “Who are you in the story and why?” I don’t intend to make this sharing a discussion on literary/narrative criticism. But let me propose to you one question: “What title can you give to our Gospel reading of today?”
Oftentimes, we focus on two major elements in today’s parable: the soil, which represents us, and the seed, which point to the Word of God. When the two are connected, we arrive at many realizations such as: “There are times that I am like this soil because….”, “I guess, at this moment of my life I am like this soil because….”, “It is impossible for the seed to grown in me because I am this kind of soil…”, and so on and so forth. It is good to introspect for us to see what are some areas in life that we are called to grow and to improve. But if we focus much on ourselves, the I-Me-Myself mentality, what can we hope for?
In as much as the Gospel reading of today wants to shake us and to sift through, it also challenges us to see beyond. And so, let me go back to the question: “What title can you give to our Gospel reading of today?” For those who focus on how they are as a soil, they would call it, “The Parable of the Soil”. For those who highlight on the growing process of the seed in the various seasons of our life, they would call it, “The Parable of the Seed”. But, in seeing beyond and in listening to Word-Made-Flesh, Jesus said, “Hear the Parable of the Sower.” This is the key to help us better understand ourselves as soil where the seed is sown. The Sower is God.
The Sower is never choosy. He sows the seed to all types of soil: for those who are fallen, for who are faint, for those who are weak and for those who are strong. The sower is so lavish. He never sows less for those who are less and much for those who are good. He is just so generous, so kind and all good. God does not have favorites. In God, redemption is so abundant. But what is our response?
The first reading tells us that as a consequence of being gifted to give, God only desires one thing for us: a life of fulfillment. A fulfilled life is not doing what we want as if we are echoing Spice Girls’ “tell me what you want, what you really, really want… I wanna, I wanna, I wanna…” Take note, if God’s Word is sown in us so lavishly, God calls us to be like Him, to be live like Him and to love like Him. Obedience is a sure manifestation that one truly loves God (1-3 commandments) by loving others (4-10 commandments). If one is in love, one acts in freedom and in responsibility. There is no need to have people to police us, acting like a CCTV camera or a Big Brother. Because God is love, this love serves as the impetus that all that more makes us humble and grateful, faithful and true.
Love never regulates. Love can never be legislated. Love is not what we do. Love is what we are. Amen.
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