Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time-A
Today we are called to reflect on the familiar parable of the farmer sowing seeds in all directions. The haphazard seeding method assures the grain falls in all sorts of places, ranging from areas with no soil to the most fertile. Due to the variety of environments, some of the seeds will never have a chance to germinate, while others sprout but live very short lives, while still others, make their way to rich soil producing one hundred, sixty, and thirtyfold.
Jesus uses parables to explain the relationship between the mysterious truths about God and his creatures. The term parable comes from ancient Greek thought, which means placing things side by side for comparison. A parable is a pedagogical technique Jesus uses to connect what seems to be a simple process of a seed sprouting and to explain something more complex, the human interaction with the divine.
Grade school students may know that when a seed is planted in soil, watered, and placed under a light source, the plant pokes out of the ground within days. The rudimentary knowledge of plant growth is known to many, and Jesus uses elementary comprehension to explain the complexity of life in the spirit, which follows a similar track.
Jesus’ message about spiritual life refers to people with poor environments for spiritual growth and those who live the fullness of life. He starts with a seed on a path that has no chance of germinating; the birds of the air quickly eat it up. So too, the Word of God or his grace is bestowed upon all, but some are unwilling to accept the gift for whatever reason. By not accepting the seed of grace, the person cannot flourish because a human being is both physical and spiritual. Sadly, these are the ones who have completely lost their connection with the divine.
Most Christians do not fall into the category of complete separation, and depending on their spiritual lives, their relationship with God is similar to the rocky soil which once sprouted but soon died because of a lack of fertility. This is often observed by the person who had been taught about God and his commandments in their younger years but abandoned those teaching and practices now that they are grown to adulthood. They, too, are rejecting the grace offered to them daily.
The seed thrown into the thorn patch is the next level of spiritual awareness. The good seed has soil to grow but is quickly crowded out by the fast-growing weeds and thorns. In this example, the person believes in God and might attend church. Still, the allurements and concerns of the temporal world quickly take precedence over their ever-atrophying spiritual life.
Finally, some are disposed to receive the grace of God by becoming fertile receptacles to welcome the seed of God. They receive God’s grace, and the grace blossoms into one hundred, sixty, and thirtyfold. These are the people, like the saints we venerate, who gladly receive the seed of grace and prepare a suitable place for its growth. They do this because they have realized without a doubt that a relationship with God is the answer to their ultimate question of what it means to be an authentic human. What is authentically human is to live and flourish!
This weekend, the moral of the teaching comes down to this point: Do we choose to flourish or fall into self-destruction? Human beings are the only creatures who can choose between the two. Experience has shown that some throw away their lives while others do not. The amount of faith and the acceptance of God’s grace determine which side you will fall on. It is all about the person’s reception of God’s grace.
Thousands of years ago, The Book of Wisdom perfectly summarized God’s will for all of us. “Do not court death by erring way of life, nor draw to yourselves destruction by works of your hands. Because God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. For he fashioned all things that they might have being, and all the creatures of the world are wholesome; There is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of Hades on earth, for righteousness is undying.”