Sunday 12th July 2020

Gospel of Matthew 13:1-23

A sower went out to sow.

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: / You shall indeed hear but not understand, / you shall indeed look but never see. / Gross is the heart of this people, /they will hardly hear with their ears, / they have closed their eyes, / lest they see with their eyes / and hear with their ears / and understand with their hearts and be converted, / and I heal them.

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

“Hear then the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

In my meditation, I become aware that I live in the stream of God’s love – where all is gift.

In this Gospel I think Jesus is teaching us about the most precious gift of all, that is love. Jesus’ image of God as the sower is one of abundance.  Generously pouring out love upon the earth to all of creation. Can we receive that love? 

In the culminating exercise of Spiritual Exercises called ‘the Contemplation for Attaining Divine Love’ St Ignatius says “The lover gives and communicates to the loved one what they have, or something of what they have, or are able to give; and in turn the one loved does the same for the lover. Each gives to the other’ [231]. 

A loving response to God is to receive love.

Where is my rich soil that can receive such love? 

Where is the place within my heart that is life giving and generative?

As I think of a loving heart that is generative I am reminded of Mary Ward’s last words to her companions while on her death bed: “Practice God’s vocation in us, that it be constantly, efficaciously and affectionately in all…”[1]

Mary’s was a vocation of love, one that “indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” 

[1] L6 Letter from Mary Poyntz to Barbara Babthorpe on Mary Ward’s death February 1645