JULY 21. Ord Time B. Wk 16. Wed. Mt 13. 1-9
Updated: Sep 10
Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside, but such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat there. The people all stood on the beach, and he told them many things in parables.
He said, ‘Imagine a sower going out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Listen, anyone who has ears!’
The focus of today’s Gospel reading is on Christ as a teacher; - “with such large crowds gathering around him that he had to get into a boat!”
Man of those present would have been there because of his reputation for performing miracles, and they were seeking cures; - while others would have been listening because of the wisdom of his teachings; - and others were there because of a desire to be one of his followers.
And as a good teacher Christ would have welcomed them all; - as the purpose of his life was to teach the truth, so all he would have wanted was to have people listening to his teachings; - the different motivations for being present would not have concerned him.
His parable today indicates he was well aware of the many different circumstances of his listeners and, as a result, his teachings would be received in many different ways, and with differing results.
He compares his teachings to a farmer going out to sow his crop; - and he compares the listeners to the soil into which the seeds are planted.
The clear implications flowing from this parable is that; - like the farmer; - Christ expects the truths he is preaching to bear fruit in the hearts and minds of his listeners.
But then, he goes on to indicate there are many obstacles to his words; - or seeds; - producing a crop; - with birds coming and taking the seeds away; - with the soil being too shallow for the seeds to grow; - while in other cases the seed would have fallen among thorns!
“Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Listen, anyone who has ears!”
The message to his listeners was they needed to appreciate and value the truths (or seeds) he was giving them and; - in order for them to grow and bear fruit; - his teachings would need to be appreciated, followed, and incorporated into their daily lives.
How relevant this teaching is for us today; - with the lesson being particularly relevant to our reading of the Gospels; - where we are provided with multiple parables, and where we find all of Christ’s teachings provided to us in a “package” we can ponder at any time?
And how appropriate is his final advice in today’s Gospel; -“Listen, anyone who has ears!”
Gospel Acclamation Ps118:36,29
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.
First reading Exodus 16:1-5,9-15 · The Lord sends quails and manna from heaven
From Elim they set out, and the whole community of the sons of Israel reached the wilderness of Sin – between Elim and Sinai – on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left Egypt. And the whole community of the sons of Israel began to complain against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness and said to them, ‘Why did we not die at the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we were able to sit down to pans of meat and could eat bread to our heart’s content! As it is, you have brought us to this wilderness to starve this whole company to death!’
Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Now I will rain down bread for you from the heavens. Each day the people are to go out and gather the day’s portion; I propose to test them in this way to see whether they will follow my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they have brought in, this will be twice as much as the daily gathering.’
Moses said to Aaron, ‘To the whole community of the sons of Israel say this, “Present yourselves before the Lord, for he has heard your complaints.”’ As Aaron was speaking to the whole community of the sons of Israel, they turned towards the wilderness, and there was the glory of the Lord appearing in the form of a cloud. Then the Lord spoke to Moses and said, ‘I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel. Say this to them, “Between the two evenings you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have bread to your heart’s content. Then you will learn that I, the Lord, am your God.”’ And so it came about: quails flew up in the evening, and they covered the camp; in the morning there was a coating of dew all round the camp. When the coating of dew lifted, there on the surface of the desert was a thing delicate, powdery, as fine as hoarfrost on the ground. When they saw this, the sons of Israel said to one another, ‘What is that?’ not knowing what it was. ‘That’ said Moses to them ‘is the bread the Lord gives you to eat.’