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THE THREE "S's" OF THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER
Parable of the Sower
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Unknown to many I have a brother, who is also a priest; and also, I have a FACEBOOK account! For the past few weeks, browsing through my wall page, I was surprised to learn that my brother, who is a priest, is in LOVE! Yes, my dear brothers and sisters, my brother is in LOVE! But before you come judging him, as I personally did not report the matter to his Bishop, let me clarify that he’s not in love with a PERSON … he is in love with his IPAD2!
Well could you blame him? He can edit amazing pictures through his Ipad; he makes my niece laugh so hard each time he plays “soft kitty, warm kitty …” through his Ipad; and more importantly, he can say Mass without the bulky Missal through his Ipad, and the long list goes on. Amazing isn’t it?
We live in an “I.T. world” and so they say. To be computer illiterate nowadays makes one, in a way, “outdated.” We have to keep ourselves up-to-date in order to cope with modern demands. I do believe that Jesus is aware that we will reach this point of modernization. Right from his time, He already has warned His disciples about its repercussions in the future as he narrated the parable of the sower. As His disciples were learning to know Jesus through this parable, we too are asked to be prepared as we are confronted with modern challenges and distractions which could either deepen our relationship with Him or simply not!
Let me point out three main elements of the parable:
1. The SOWER, who is God Himself. God loves us so deeply that He will do everything in His power to lead us back to Him that we may be able to fulfill our purpose in life. In so doing, he scatters the seed to us that we may be able to “know” what His will is for us. Interestingly, the word “knowing” in the Bible essentially implies certain intimacy, which is also present in marriage. Therefore, as God scatters the seed, he aims at establishing a relationship that is built from that knowledge. Question is, how much knowledge do we have about God? Does our knowledge of God give us enough confidence as to say that we know Him so deeply?
There was a little boy who was preparing for communion. He was asked by his catechist this question: “What is the difference between a ‘cross’ and a ‘crucifix?’” The kid confident about his knowledge of Jesus said, “Well, the cross looks like Jesus, but it is NOT Jesus. The crucifix also looks like Jesus and it is JESUS!” Now, this is coming from a kid who was just taking catechesis. But to those of us who have already grown up in the faith, a greater knowledge should all the more be expected.
2. The SEED, which is the WORD of GOD.The word of God wraps up the story of the chosen people from of old down to the present time. It is the story that continues to take place up until today as Jesus continues to inspire us with His word. It may be a surprise to some of us but the basic function of every Christian and that includes the priests, is not to attend Mass or celebrate the Sacraments but rather, to preach the Word of God. It is our basic duty to make the LOVE of God known to mankind. As the “seeds” have been scattered to us, we are expected to make them grow and to share it to other people.
Last week, in my homily, I pointed out the sad news about Fr. Corapi leaving the priesthood. I was personally saddened by his decision to leave the ministry and so was his congregation. What was good news though was that, he did not completely extinguish his communion with the Catholic Church. According to him, he will continue to deliver the good news through his preaching as he now calls himself “theblacksheepdog.” He recognizes the significance of preaching which is not just for priests and apt the religious but for any Catholic who professes faith in Christ.
3. The SOIL, which stands for the way we RECEIVE the word of God. There is that Thomistic principle which says, “Quidquid recipitur ad modum recipientis recipitur” or “Whatever is received into something is received according to the condition of the receiver.” In other words, our nature is determined by the way we receive things. Jesus clearly defines in this parable that to be a true Christian (our nature) or to be a true follower of His, one has to accept His WORD wholeheartedly, that is, to be a good soil in order that the seed may grow productively.
When I was handling the Confirmation program from the parish where I was first assigned, my catechists and myself have spent so much time figuring out a way in order that the word of God would sink into their teenage hearts. But as we spent so much time on that, we realized that it is not just the content nor the methodology that matters, but rather, the very disposition of our teenagers to receive the word of God. With the catechists alone, we cannot expect things to succeed in terms of catechizing them. Parents have a crucial role on this regard. Being the “first catechists,” it is the parents’ duty not only to teach children the truths of the Catholic faith. More importantly, it is their duty to give them an environment in the family where they could see “faith in action” so as to dispose them to receive God’s word with an open heart!
And so each time you read the parable of the sower, always remember these three elements: 1. The SOWER, who is God who loves us so dearly; 2. The SEED, which is the Word of God which continues to inspire each one of us through preaching and example; and 3. The SOIL, which stands for our disposition to receive the word of God.
Just this morning my brother sent me a SKYPE message right from his Ipad, he said, “Nong, thank you for buying ipad2 for me. It has brought me the happiness to be able to have a full hair again through a picture editor app! But as I get too attached with the gadget, all the more I realized it is just a mere vehicle in order that the “seeds” of faith and love be scattered into the hearts and minds of our people. Yes, I love my ipad2, but I love it’s principal maker even more through the hands of the Chinese manufacturer! GOD will remain to be a living Ipad, who will continue to bring joy and happiness to my heart!”