First, the parable:
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.”
It's widely understood that the soil is us. Father Jacek asked us, "What is the seed?" Then, he described a time when he and several other Dominican preachers were discussing this passage, and attempting to answer this very question.
My answer: Faith.
Their answers: knowledge...no; good works...no; faith...no.
The key, he said, was the mysteries of the Kingdom; what is the mystery of the Kingdom?
God's Love. [Now as I read Jesus' explanation to his disciples, I see "the word." Who is the Word? Jesus. ...and what does He represent? God's Love.] How do we know it's God's Love: because this parable describes a response to an action. Any action of love requisites a response.
The casting of the seed - describes the nature of God's Love. "A sower went out to sow;" God went out to love, and He cast His love everywhere, for all people - but people reacted differently. How did the people react to the love?
1) The path: those who take the love for granted - and thus, throw it away
2) The rocky soil: those who respond with great enthusiasm, but never were transformed, and thus never made a commitment (roots)
3) The thorns: those who respond out of duty - and thus, miss out on the joy
4) The fertile soil: those who respond in love - who give their whole self as a response to the gift of love. For that is what love is: a response by giving your total self to the other.
Love leads to life. This is the crux of Catholic teaching; thus, it makes sense that the seed is love - and that an act of love would bear fruit - life.
In our Marriage Encounter Core meeting, Father Charlie presented us with another application:
I could ask the question, "How do you love?" And we might say, "Oh, pretty good. Not perfect, but not that bad." Because "love" is very subjective (in 301, it's a "Level 4" word). But, how do we listen? How do we respond to others?
This is far easier to answer...and far more convicting. Am I listening for the problem? Am I listening to respond? Am I listening to defend? ...what would it look like to listen out of love? What would it look like to listen with love? Am I listening to my beloved?
Those who have ears, let them hear.
NOW: go read my friend's post and see if you can catch the connection between these 2 topics. Only love can grow exponentially and reap a harvest of 30-60-100 times greater than what was planted.