21st JULY 2021

Commentary on Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 - Working Preacher from Luther Seminary



Ex 16:1-5,9-15;                      Ps 78:18-19,23-28;                             Mt 13:1-9


Jesus drew his instructions to the people, from instances and examples in the common life of the people to explain some principle or teaching about the kingdom of heaven. In following this method, a point of similarity is communicated, as well as a disparity between this life and the life in the kingdom. Jesus chose to use parables to begin to uncover the faith of true disciples, and to demonstrate judgment on those who refused to see and hear.

In the parable of today’s Gospel passage, a sower went forth to sow, sowing his seed upon four kinds of earth. Although sometimes the ground was prepared by ploughing, in other cases, the seed would be sown with no preparation whatsoever, which seems to be the case in this parable. Some of the seed fell on the wayside, where there was no receptivity, and birds came and devoured it. Some seed fell on the second type of soil defined as “stony places”. This refers to the stony ground with sufficient soil to allow the seed to sprout but with insufficient depth to allow adequate roots. Beginning to grow, the new plants withered in the heat of the sun. Some seed fell among thorns, i.e., soil that was good enough but full of weeds. Here, the thorns challenged the growth of the young plants and choked them out. The fourth soil receiving the seed was described as “good ground”, bringing forth seed up to a hundredfold. In each case, the seed is the same, but the difference is in the receptivity of the soil.

In order to understand how this applies to our own life, we don’t need to think hard. Just examine your participation in the holy mass, which has been celebrated in almost the same form since the Church’s beginnings. The same proclamation of the word and the liturgy of the Eucharist have inspired so many to attain the heights of sainthood. How does it affect you each time? The difference lies always in the receptivity of the soil.

Response: The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

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