In today’s Gospel from Matthew, Jesus tells the parable of the sower who went out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, where the birds devoured them; some fell on rocky ground, which sprung up for a while, then withered for lack of good roots; some fell on thorns, and were choked by the thorns; others “fell on rich soil and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”
The parable describes four different responses to the Word of God. We all, of course, would like to see ourselves as the seed that fell on good soil – as the ones who hear the Word of God, understand it, accept it, and live our lives in accordance with it.
But if we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that one or more of the other descriptions have been accurate descriptions of us at one point or another. God is constantly communicating with us, constantly conveying to us His Word. Sometimes we do hear and understand and act in accordance with that. Other times we may be like the seed sown on rocky soil – we “hear the word and receive it at once with joy.” But some problem or persecution comes along and we become weak. Or some other attraction tempts us. Or, God’s word comes at a time when we are distracted, and we either don’t hear it or don’t understand it.
Fortunately for us, God’s fidelity is so much greater than ours: No matter how we respond, God continues to come back. Continues to sow his Word in us. So each day we have the chance to be like the seed planted in good soil – to hear the Word, understand it and act on it.