“Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold…” (Mk 4: 3-8)
In this parable, the Lord is talking about Himself (a “sower”), and His word (the “seed”), and all of us (various “soil”) who hear it and then either embrace it or ignore it, in different ways.
I am thinking about this parable because of a conversation I heard yesterday: A woman said to her priest, “Father, I go to church and am very active in this parish; I attend a Bible Study class weekly; I read beneficial books and I have all these Apps on my phone, from daily scripture readings to inspirational speakers… But I have no peace, and I don’t feel that I really pray to God.” And her priest said to her, “Well, while you’re doing all that, you probably don’t let God get in a word edgewise.”
I wasn’t the one talking to this priest, but I realized that I needed to hear his very wise reply. It reminded me that Christ can often be “sowing” His word, that is, throwing it in my direction, but it may just be bouncing off of me, or languishing, or withering away, because I am not really tending to it, not keeping it, in the stillness, light, and regular watering that it requires for growth. Because I may be (perhaps inadvertently) smothering it with my own activities and words.
Today I remember the parable of the sower, and of Who the “sower” is. It is not my own saying or doing that begins and enables my growth. I must first be still, in Him, in order to receive, from Him, and then to speak, or act, in Him. “Be still,” He says to me, “and know that I am God.” (Ps 45/46: 10)