July 13, 2014 - Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
When I was little, my great grandparents still lived on a family farm. There was a barn with cows and horses. There were goats and pigs, ducks and chickens, rows and rows of vegetables, and of course, manure to help make the earth fertile.
My mother and grandmother picked potatoes and cotton. My father and grandfather were butchers. My other grandfather was a master gardener.
There are very few small farms and very few vegetable gardens left.
Some people actually think that chicken and beef and eggs come from the supermarket. They don’t even know that ham and bacon come from pigs. And that steak comes from cows.
People who have never experienced a farm don’t always know where their food comes from.
For those folk, this parable of the sower sowing seeds might be hard to understand.
Jesus uses nature all the time to teach spiritual lessons. This shows Jesus’ concern for all creation.
He wants us to have the same concern. We are called to be good stewards of God’s creation.
When he was growing up, Jesus had witnessed farmers sowing their seed by hand and reaping the harvest that had grown in the rich, fertile soil.
The Word of God that is spoken to us when we read our sacred scripture is like the seed that falls on different types of soil.
Some seed falls on the rocky ground. There is little soil, no roots, no depth, so the seed sprouts but soon withers and fades.
The Word of God sometimes falls on rocky ground. There are some who have little self-awareness but plenty of self absorption, and others who are just too hardheaded to listen.
They might have some faith, but it always seems to wither and fade.
Some seed falls among the thorns where it is choked and overtaken by the weeds.
Some people hear the Word of God but it is choked by anxiety, peer pressure, depression. The Word of God is drowned out by the noise of the world.
Some seed falls on the foot path where it is trampled and crushed. Some people fall prey to the lure of Satan’s empty show and they are trampled and crushed by the power of evil.
The Good News is that regardless of the type of soil, the sower is still at work sowing the seeds.
And over time, the farmer is able to transform the earth, just like God is able to transform our hearts, transform our lives.
The farmer transforms the rocky ground; he weeds the thorns ploughs the foot path so that the soil becomes rich and fertile.
But God, the Divine Farmer, does not do all this work by himself. He relies on helpers out in the fields of the Kingdom.
My grandmother and mother helped pick cotton and potatoes. My grandfather and father helped butcher the animals. Their work was necessary for the family farm to thrive.
What work do we do to help God yield a harvest of plenty?
Just like my parents and grandparents each played a part on that small farm, we are all given some task by the Lord God that is specifically our own.
This task of ours helps to build up the Kingdom of God.
When we do the given to us by the Lord, we become good soil yielding an abundant harvest.