The Sower by Van Gogh


On Sexagesima Sunday, the Sunday gospel is the Parable of the Sower. Seeds and plants are one of those things that one finds in abundance in the Bible. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, whose fruit caused the fall, is right there at the beginning of Genesis. Another tree,  the one on which Our Lord was crucified for us, is to be found in the Gospels of the New Testament. While these two trees are the most important, there are also numerous others that are enumerated throughout the Bible: the cedars of Lebanon mentioned by King David in Psalm 104, the mustard tree of the Sermon on the Mount, the fig tree that Our Lord found and dried because it bore no fruit, and so on. Yet let us look at the smallest seeds and find out what this parable means in terms of our dispositions.


Our Lord is the Divine Sower and the seed is the Gospel. The Sower is a background figure so that all the attention is focused on the seeds and how each soul is disposed to hear the words of the Gospels. First, there are souls who hear the word, but who are so weak that the devil snatches them instantly (the seed that fell on the road).There are those who receive the word with joy, but then  they do nothing about it because they do not have roots (the seed on the rock). Others also receive the word with joy, but they attempt to reconcile the Kingdom of God with that of the world. Their souls are always open to temptation and their pride stifles their desires (the seed that fell among thorns). Finally, there are those wonderful souls who carry out the Gospel its full extent and live it daily (the good seed).


I’m certain that many of us, myself included, can examine ourselves to find out our dispositions with regard to the Gospels. Of course, each of us struggles with different vices and problems. I personally find myself among the thorns because I cannot control my desires. Whatever God plants in me, I feel that it is choked by my love of other things. There were days and times when I tried to uproot the thorns, but I could not. They swallowed me up alive. Only when I called on the Lord did I receive help in my afflictions.


I know the Gospel can easily be drowned out. We live in a world where our senses are constantly assaulted. There is too much TV, too much radio, too much internet. The media has invaded our homes in a way that was not possible when our grandparents or great-grandparents were around. Yet the media is not the only thing that can be blamed. We must also blame ourselves for our own lack of receptivity. While we may attend Sunday Mass regularly and hear the Word, how many of us actually strive to live it? How many of us take what we hear in the sermon and directly apply it to our own lives? I know I haven’t and that only because I don’t attend church regularly enough.


Lent is coming up. Within ten days, we will begin that journey to Our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection. It will be a time of penance and it is also the most appropriate time for us to listen to Our Lord and the Gospel. If we listen hard enough and meditate long enough, Our Lord will speak to us. He will speak to us in the depths of our hearts and we should try to be receptive. Our Lord knows our needs. He knows that we need to live penitentially.

Why not begin this Sunday and meditate on your spiritual life and where you have fallen from the Sower’s hand? Think about your surroundings, the people you work with, the places that you go. Meditate on what you can do to improve your life this Lent so that the chasm is no longer yawning underneath your feet. Once you make your resolutions, keep them and pray that God will help you to persevere.


Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!