Wednesday - 16th Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel – Matthew 13:1-9 (revisited)
Spread the Word
Fields of Galilee
Most of you know I have been a high school religion teacher for 40 years. So it’s not unusual for me to cross paths with some of my former students. And it’s always a special treat to reconnect with them. About a year ago, right in the middle of the pandemic I crossed paths with one of my former students. We spent almost an hour sitting on my front porch and catching up - what’s new with her, what I’m up to, and how our respective families have grown over the years. But what struck me the most was that moment when she got out of her car and our eyes met. She was crying! And I’m like, what’s wrong – nothing at all, just so glad to see you and to thank you for all you’ve done for me. Sheesh! Throughout our conversation she constantly talked about what an influence I had on her not just in high school but through the ensuing years.
It was humbling, embarrassing, and uplifting. You see, she graduated from high school 36 years ago. And all this time, she remembered; all this time I had no idea how much of a difference, how much of an effect I had on her life. Many of us have had that experience – where something we said or did years ago resonated with someone, touched them, and perhaps changed them.
The Gospel today is a very familiar one. The Sower and the Seed! Some fell on rocky ground, some on the path, some among the thorns, and some on fertile soil. We know from Jesus’ explanation to the disciples that the seed is the Word of God, the message of salvation. And the different soils are the many different people who hear the Word.
Often we reflect on what type of soil we are – how open are we to the Word? Do we hear it and follow it for just a while and then move on? Are we so caught up in the worries of the world that those worries choke the Word out of us? Does it take root? Does it bear fruit? In the process, we picture God or Jesus as the sower.
But let’s do something different – let’s put ourselves in the role of the sower. Picture yourself as the one who scatters the seed. Every day we scatter the seeds, the seeds of faith, the seeds of the Word of God. Isn’t that our calling? To be Christian? To act Christ-like?
From our perspective, the Sower in the parable is a miserable failure! He scatters the precious seed every which way! 75% of the seed he scatters never takes root, never bears fruit! But does that really make him a failure. Whether he knows it or not, some of what he scatters does take root, it does blossom and bear fruit.
And so it is with us! Every day we scatter the seed (the Word), every day by our words, our actions, and our interactions with others. The seed falls where it may and most of the time we never see it take root, most of the time we never realize that we are sowing the seed. We just sow the seed and move on in life. And sometimes, unbeknownst to us, like that former student of mine, something we did, something we said takes root and makes a difference in someone else’s life.
We are all called to be Christian, we are called to bear witness to the Gospel message, we are all called to be sowers of the seed. And that is what we are challenged to do today – to scatter the seed, to spread the Word!