The Sower And The Seed
by Rev. Robert J. Hermley
Stories for Life Index
During his life on earth, Christ constantly reminded us in parables of the great love that He has for all mankind. In the Parable of the Eleventh Hour, Christ endeavored to show us that He wanted us to work all of our lives for Him in the vineyard of life, but that He would accept us at mid-day or even at the eleventh hour - almost at the end of the day.
In the Parable of the sower and the Seed, Christ once again told of the unlimited love He holds for us in the story of this magnanimous farmer who wants the seed of His word to grow so much, that He scatters it liberally, even to places where He knows he seed will never grow.
A sower went out to sow the seed - a farmer went out to plant seed. Christ always adapted His talks to His listener's interests. To fishermen, He spoke of nets and a catch of fish. Speaking to farmers, He speaks of sheep, goats and a farmer who plants. The farmer went out to sow, and as he did, some seed fell on the foot walks and having no soil, the birds ate it up. The farmers who listened, must have thought that strange. The regular farmer would never have thrown seed all over the place. Farmers were frugal people and they knew that the proper way to plant was to dig furrows and then carefully plant the seed at distances from one another so that none of it would be wasted. What a strange story for Christ to tell, the story of a farmer who liberally throws the seed even upon the footpath. Yet, when we come to understand the story, we will find it not so strange, for after all, this farmer was Christ. The seed was the word of God, and the Farmer was very desirous that every inch of the round should have a chance, because the ground mentioned was the heart of each and every living person. Christ wanted to be sure that no one could ever say, "I didn't have a chance." So, this Farmer generously threw the seed everywhere. Some of it fell upon the footpaths, and having no ground whatsoever to grow in, the birds of the air came and ate it up.
Some of the seed fell upon rocky ground. Again, that would be a strange statement to tell to farmers, but we have already stated that this particular Farmer wanted to cover every possibility - to give every inch of the land a chance to take root.
Sometimes, in life, we meet hard-heads who think they know it all - rock heads. Sometimes, however as they grow older they do get to see the truth, at long last, and they repent and really do change their lives. So for these hard-heads, Christ threw the seed, the word of God, so that they too would at least have a chance. This seed, falling upon rocky soil, however, sprang up quickly and was scorched by the sun because the soil had no depth.
Then, the sower threw seed which fell upon thorns and weeds. The weeds surrounded the grain and choked its growth. This seed produced very little.
Finally, Christ said in the parable, some seed fell upon good ground and yielded fruit, some thirty-fold, some sixty-fold and some a hundred-fold. And seeing that the apostles did not fully comprehend, Jesus explained the parable to them when they were alone. The story of the sower and the Seed is this:
The seed is the word of god, Christ was the Farmer who sowed it. He wants every part, every portion of the world or field to receive the seed of His word and so He lavishly spreads the seed everywhere, even where it is most likely not going to grow. Since there is no soil on the footpath, it dies. It doesn't even take root. There are atheists, agnostics and materialists who tell us God is dead. These are the people who tell us that science is god, that god is a "force", not a person. They tell us that God is a myth: that Scripture is "made up" - that it is not true, it is an epic. So, even though Christ spreads the word to them, they do not listen, they do not accept it. They wasted the seed that Christ tried to implant into their hearts. They were given worse than the seed which fell upon rocky soil. There atheists, agnostics, materialists and modernists heard the word of God and mocked it.
The seed which fell upon rocky soil, as we have said, are those who perhaps had wanted to listen to Christ's words; they were touched when they heard the word, but thee was little soil, little depth to their devotion. In time of persecution, difficulty, or simply because they wanted to be one of the boys, or get elected or be novel in their thinking rather than be authentic, they gave up the fight. They were rootless. There was little soil, little depth to their thinking. But remember, Christ had tried to plant the seed among them, It was their choice not to accept. The word was preached, they jumped at it momentarily, but it ended there. They may have even thought that they had some religion and devotion - like Christmas and Easter Catholics who, a couple of times a year, have pangs of conscience. They have heard God's word, it excites them a little, but they just give up after a few weeks of trying, - but I do not want to be too severe in judging these people, for at least they listen, even if it is just at Christmas and Easter and, every so often, one of them realizes that, like the Prodigal Son, that they have indeed sinned against heaven and against Christ and they return to their Father's house and take up again the work in the vineyard even at the Eleventh Hour.
Then, there was the seed that fell upon thorns. This seed is the most pitiable of all. We have all seen at some time in our lives, a beautiful garden with magnificent flowers growing in it, but which is being overrun by weeds and thorns. Just a casual glance will show us that it is just a short time until the weeds will outgrow and choke the flowers, and the garden will be useless. All it's beauty will be choked off. The flowers will be devastated. The weeds will use up the soil intended to nourish the delicate flowers.
In just such a way, are the souls who lose their beauty because they have been choked by the cares of the world. They talk, they listen; hey even show great promise. They have magnificent ability to do good things, but then, instead of progressing in the way of holiness and in the way of Christ, they begin to wonder if they are missing something. They begin to listen t their neighbors, they begin to listen to polls. They stop thinking for themselves. They ask, "What are others thinking? What do the crowds say" Is abortion OK? Is birth control OK? " Sometimes, they also become enamored of theologians and false prophets who "Tickle their ears," as St. Paul describes the phenomenon. These poor souls do not listen any longer to the Encyclicals. Sometimes, they even attack Papal pronouncements which stand in the way of their errors. They befriend liturgists who change everything they can, in order to make Faith a fun thing, rather than a religious event done with due reverence. They join their fellow false prophets who complain that the old was restrictive. Then, when they take the reins themselves, they start to stamp out all dissent. Dialogue becomes merely argumentation until you agree with their position. They seem to say most the time, "My mind is made up, and so I will argue with you until you come around to my way of thinking."
Yes, they become choked off them their original purpose. Perhaps they meant well in the beginning, but they soon became consumed with liberal concerns which began to engulf the beautiful flowers of the faith of their fathers. They became a devastated garden. They became more interested in a social gospel rather than in the Holy Gospel. They forget that the Master commanded us to enter y the narrow gate- by the road less traveled. They had hoped to grow, but they were destroyed by the weeds. Yes, these are the most pitiable of all, because they might have been great. Their love of God was crushed by social issues. If only they would have realized hat social issues will be solved only when men love God first, then, they could never be false to their neighbor. Loving God the Father first makes all of us brothers.
Finally, Christ told us that some of the seed fell upon good ground and yielded fruit: some thirty-fold, some sixty-fold and some one hundred-fold.
This statement shows us clearly that Christ knew there were individual differences in us. Some of us at our greatest capacity yield good works thirty or sixty-fold: some make it a hundred-fold. That does not make any different to Christ. These people took the word of God and, to the best of their ability, let it grow in their hearts. They worked to their capacity, and God was pleased with their best-thirty-, sixty-fold. Naturally, He was also pleased with the hundred-fold. Great scholastic ability was never a sign of holiness. Sincerity and devotion are more important to God than brilliance. Sometimes, married folks who work to their capacity for their family and for God are more worthy in His sight than loose theologians who, more often that not, do great harm to the devotion of the weak. Let us never complain that we are not intelligent enough. Lucifer was a smart devil, while some of the saints who accomplished the most were ordinary people.
The Sower and the Seed is a story and symbol of Christ's love. Christ lavishly spread His word everywhere to give everyone a chance. He even wasted some of it on the hard-to-get-to-people, hoping that before the sun set, some of them would still go to work in the vineyard of the Lord.