The parable of the sower

Posté par diaconos le 19 septembre 2020

This is the artwork for Kids' Chronicle for July 12, 2020.

From the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke

At that time, as a great crowd gathered together, and people from every town came to Jesus, he said in a parable, « The sower went out to sow the seed, and as he sowed, he fell by the wayside. And as he sowed it, it fell by the wayside, and the passers-by trampled on it, and the birds of the air ate it up. And it fell into the stones, and it grew and dried up because it had no moisture.
Some also fell among the brambles, and the brambles, when they grew with it, choked it. At last it fell into the good soil, grew and bore fruit a hundredfold. « And when he had said this, he lifted up his voice, « He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. »

His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said to them, « To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but others have only parables. Thus, as it is written: They look without looking, they hear without understanding. This is what the parable means. The seed is the word of God. There are those who are by the wayside : these have heard; then the devil comes and takes the word from their hearts, to prevent them from believing and being saved.
There are those who are in the stones: when they hear, they welcome the Word with joy, but they have no roots, they believe for a while and when they are tested, they give up.

What has fallen into the thorns are the people who have heard, but who are choked by the cares, riches and pleasures of life, and do not reach maturity. And what has fallen into the good soil are the people who have heard the Word in good and generous hearts, who hold on to it and bear fruit through their perseverance. «  (Lk 8,4-15)

The sower goes out to sow the seed

A great crowd followed Jesus ; but in addition, from every town in the region where he passed, new crowds came to him. Matthew and Mark described more accurately than Luke the place and scene of this great gathering of people and the preaching of Jesus. The preaching of Jesus took place mainly in parable. Luke used this word in the singular, because he reported only one parable.

There is something both familiar and solemn in these accumulated terms that excites attention. (Meyer)

Seeds that fell along the path had to be trampled by passers-by. Luke alone noted this feature, which Jesus did not explain afterwards, but which was nevertheless one of the reasons why this part of the seed remained unproductive. The rock was covered with a light layer of earth: this was what the other two evangelists called rocky places.

Lack of moisture, a particular expression of Luke, which Matthew and Mark replaced with lack of depth, and with this: having no roots. These three causes of sterility, which complemented each other, were really found in the nature of the soil.  Luke indicated with these words « to produce a hundredfold » the highest degree of productivity, while Matthew and Mark also indicated the lower degrees: one hundred, sixty, thirty.

According to the three evangelists, Jesus immediately added this serious warning to the parable, but only Luke noticed that he did so aloud: he cried out, he raised his voice. In the accounts of Mark and Luke, Jesus spoke words that did not answer the disciples’ question. The disciples asked Jesus for an explanation of the parable, which he later gave them.

Matthew’s disciples asked Jesus yet another question : « Why are you speaking to them in parables ?  « It was to this first important question that Jesus first answered: then, returning to the second, he told them the meaning of the parable.

Luke identified the divine word with the effects produced by it, and these effects with the people in whom the phenomenon takes place. Hence the unusual expressions: « those who were sown along the way »; those who were on the rock; they had no root; they were smothered; and it was only then that Luke brought out the spiritual meaning of the picture.

Isn’t there something irregular in this way of expressing oneself : the intention to bring to our attention the responsibility for the diverse action of the divine word? It is he who consents to be saved by it, or who voluntarily remains in sterility and death.

The first two Gospels indicate, as the moral sense of thorns, worries and riches; Luke added pleasures, which were certainly one of the main causes of the ineffectiveness of the holy word.

Two features were peculiar to Luke: firstly, it was this honest and good heart, in which the latter listeners received and held the word; secondly, it was this patience. The dogmatic question of whether a man can, before he has heard and received the divine word, carry within him an honest and good heart, should not be raised. We present, in very different degrees, good or bad dispositions towards the truth.

Moreover, the good soil that produces fruit had already been prepared by ploughing, fertilizing, levelling the ground before sowing. Thus there is a considerate action of God’s grace which enlightens every person about his needs, his poverty, makes him humble, sincere, altered by justice and light, and prepares him for the moment when the Gospel will be proclaimed to him.

Deacon Michel Houyoux

   A comment from you, related to this paper, will be welcome and will be published. Write your comment in the box below this paper.

Links to other Christian websites

◊  By Michael Glodo : click here to read the paper →  The parable of the sower

◊ D. James Kennedy: click here to read the paper→  The Parable Of The Sower

The parable of the sower

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