In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
How familiar, and how simple seems to us, appears to us today's parable
of the seed and of the sower; and yet, how relevant it is to us, and how
much more thought we should give to it. We forget the setting itself of
the parable, the imagery of the sower and the seed, and we dont see in
it an image of Christ, walking along the roads and the paths of Galilee
and Judea; and everywhere He went, people came to the roadside because
they have heard, as the Blind Man have heard of whom Saint Marc reports,
that He was a Teacher, that His words were true, that they had in them a
power of life.
And people came, and lined the roads, and lined the streets, and
listened. Some were prepared for the message; some have been in an agony
of mind, have been asking themselves questions which hitherto no one
have been able to answer. But others came, as so many people come now to
a preacher, to an evangelist, to a leader of any side, came to see a man
of whom one spoke, and to listen to what he had to say. He was not
answering any of their questions, He was not meeting any of their needs,
except perhaps the desire to see someone that was outstanding, someone
unique in his time. They heard the word, but it fell at their ears, they
find it beautiful, lovely, true - but it did not go beyond this. They
were listening to words, they were not listening to the cry of their own
soul that was hungry for words of truth.
And so, when He had passed, they all returned to what was their ordinary,
their normal life. They might have gone home and repeated these words,
saying, Wasn't it lovely? Didnt He speak well? - and then they went
back to what was life, ordinary life, day-to-day life...
Others, who had come to the roadside, received the message with emotion,
it stirred something in their hearts, something in their minds, it
answered something in them. And they received it and hugged it to
themselves, and returned home; but the moment they were no longer by the
road, at home, the concerns of home overwhelmed them: there was so much
to do, so much to think about, there was so much in life, there was no
time to reflect again and again on the words heard, there was no time to
sit quietly and to look in imagination at the face they had seen, to
rehearse the voice they have heard.
We have another parable about those who have been called to the Bridal
Feast of the King: they heard a call, they knew they were called
personally - but could they go? The one had bought a field, he was
rooted in it, tied to it, a prisoner of it; others have bought five
pairs of oxen - they had to try them, they had something to do in life,
a vocation, a job, something great - or something simply that matters
supremely in a personal way, as the last one: he had taken a bride - how
could he spend time for anyone else?
Those are the people who receive the word, who receive it truly, in
their heart, but there are so many things that matter - tomorrow will do,
or, if we only could reduce the message to something liveable, simple,
not to the absoluteness of it!
And then, those who receive the message, like the rich soil that could
receive the message, receive a seed and bear fruit. Those people were
not simply better people, they probably were not better people; they
were people who had a question in their mind and heart, people who had a
longing, people for whom their daily life was too narrow, too small,
people who were aware that their soul was deep, and vast and could not
be filled with the trivialities - or even the noble, the good things of
life: they received the message, they took it to heart, deep into them,
and they bore fruit because it was answering a need.
Now, we can apply it to ourselves: how many of us listen to the
words of the Gospel, listen to the words of preaching, read books
that are full of interest and depth, and they store it in their
memory, they enjoy it - but that is the end; they can quote it, they
can pass it on to others, - but that is all.
And there are so many of us who have received the message with
enthusiasm, with passion, knowing that this message is an answer to all
there is in us of longing, of hunger, of greatness, indeed; but then,
life is so complex, there is so much to do! And in all this doing, in
all this complexity the words is left aside - for another time, for
another day, when I will be old enough not to have any concerns: then I
can turn back to this glorious moment when life unfolded itself in all
its splendour - I keep it in my memory!
What about us, receiving the message and bearing fruit?
But how does this message reach us? I remember a Russian priest saying
to me, I read the Gospel daily, and I respond to it very seldom. But I
read it daily because I never know whether today, or tomorrow, or on
another day I will be the barren roadside, or the weeds by the way, or,
of a sudden, whether this word will not fall on a small patch in me
which is capable of receiving it and bearing fruit.
Isn't that simple, isn't that encouraging? We all are the three things
described in the parable of the Gospel; but if we give a chance to God
Who speaks, to God, Who passes through our life, to God Who knocks at
our heart - from time to time we will receive the message with joy and
let go of it; but from time to time it will reach a depth in our heart,
a core of our life and be the answer that will change it.
Let us therefore listen, listen to the words of the Gospel day in and
day out; listen to the voice of our conscience, listen to what the
deepest self says to us about life, about truth, about reality; and from
time to time we will have been the good ground that can bear fruit.
This parable, so simple, so clear, if we only apply it, can be a
beginning of a new life. Amen.