Isaiah 55:10-11; Ps 65:11-14; Romans 8:18-23; Matthew 13:1-9
Parables are simple life stories that Jesus told his large audiences. They are down to earth everyday stories that were in their normal experiences like agricultural or fishing.
When we read these Jesus stories we see the various levels of people around Jesus. In his public life you can put Jesus in the center and then put around Jesus those closest to him, apostles and then his disciples both men and women. In the next set of circles you have three levels in the audience. There are his closest followers, those who came to hear Jesus out of curiosity and those who came to find fault with Jesus’ healing, teaching and deliverance from evil spirits. Beyond those levels are the pagans, the non-believes that those closest to Jesus were sent out to tell the world the good news about salvation in Jesus.
Those listening to Jesus in this story heard what Jesus said. Those closest to Jesus asked, ”What was the meaning for them? Why does Jesus tell these simple stories?” Those closest to Jesus are given the understanding. To the crowd, not so much.
Where are we in the crowd?
Were would we be in the audience today with this story? If we are at weekly Mass, we can say a little prayer to the Holy Spirit and ask for understanding. When we close our eyes, ears and busy minds, we shall know the meaning as it applies to our life.
The seed in this story is the word of God as seen all around us in creation. Are we the “rich soil” that can receive the Word of God and allow it time each day in our life to grow? Do we want to be with Jesus and collect all that he has for us? We need to take some time with him each day.
Then we are fed with his “daily bread,” as we pray in the Our Father Jesus taught us. As we pray the “river of life-giving water,” flowing from God’s throne in heaven, Revelation 22:1, fills us up with more divine power. And his “light of understanding” radiates more fully from us to bless those around us and the world.
The fruit of prayer and actions
The results of our daily prayer and our actions in the world are the fruit that Jesus speaks about in this parable. At first our fruit is minimal. As we pray and grow in Christ we bear more fruit for his kingdom, Galatians 5:22 “love, joy, peace, patient endurance, kindness, generosity, deeper faith, mildness and more self-control.”
Let us ask the Holy Spirit to deepen the life of the Holy Trinity within us. Then we go into the world “shining for Jesus.” Remember that little hymn, “This little light of mine. I’m going to let it shine” or a newer one “Shine, Jesus shine?”
As we come closer to Jesus, we help others ask, “What do you have that I don’t have?” Don’t be afraid to tell them, “Come and find Jesus.” Then we are bearing more fruit, thirty, sixty or one hundred fold for his kingdom. We evangelize and bring more people to shine for Jesus. We help the world to be a better place to live in. Do we need that kind of world?
Let us begin and do what God is empowering us to do in this process.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2017 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)