July 16th 2023 - The Word Remains a Fertile Seed
The parable of the sower opens Matthew’s book of parables which contains seven illustrative stories, drawing on Palestinian life and culture. Jesus presents to us the story of a farmer who scattered the seed before plowing, with the result that a fair amount was lost even though there are sufficient yields where the soil was fertile. We can picture a farmer spreading the seeds on his farm or think of yourself spreading new grass seed on your lawn with the hope that it grows to good grass for your lawn.
Unfortunately, some seeds were lost if sown on a well-worn path, or on a thin layer of soil, or among thorns. Jesus uses this imagery to speak about himself and his mission to plant God’s Word among his people. The seed is his message; something more than human words. It is the Word of God. The people gathered around him are the people of God, the descendants of the prophets, priests, and kings whom God raised up over the centuries to put new life into their hope and their patient wait for the one who would definitively establish the kingdom.
Just as the farmer scatters his seed on the varied soil around him, so Christ offers the one word of God to the varied audience in front of him. Some listeners accept it, some reject it; some are overjoyed by it, others remain untouched. Yet for all it remains a fertile seed. This is an important encounter between the Word of God and the human race, between the message of Christ and the audience around him. The fruitfulness of this divine word will become a reality to the extent that we accept the seed and allow it grow in us. Where there is good soil to receive the seed in spite of the fall-out, so too the authentic hearers of Jesus’ message will be many and strong in faith.
Once a field has been seeded, its appearance will change considerably. Likewise, the world is about to be wholly transformed, because Jesus has just sown the seed of God’s word in it. We have received the Word and the Word is transforming us. God’s word is now mingled with us to form a single reality. Christ in becoming human has transformed us in ways beyond our comprehension. We have come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity. What a great mystery and yet profound gift to us. God’s word is made for us; it can only take root in anyone who is open to it. We are made for God’s word; and can only bear fruit through it.
Sometimes the ups and downs of life can become a rocky ground or thorns that choke and kill the Word. Let us be on guard against such obstacles. Let us not be seduced by the lure of riches and world transitory glory to deceive us, or push us to shove God’s word to the background.
Let us be the good soil which produces “a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” The point of Jesus’ parable, grasped by the ears of faith is that the message which he delivers, despite its apparent ineffectiveness, will ultimately meet the great success. Saint Paul reminds us that not only are we destined for the glory, but all of creation is joined with us in that hope.
Grace and peace to you,
Rev. Vitalis Anyanike