Jesus began to teach beside the lake again. Such a large crowd gathered that he climbed into a boat there on the lake. He sat in the boat while the whole crowd was nearby on the shore. He said many things to them in parables. While teaching them, he said, “Listen to this! A farmer went out to scatter seed. As he was scattering seed, some fell on the path; and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on rocky ground where the soil was shallow. They sprouted immediately because the soil wasn’t deep. When the sun came up, it scorched the plants; and they dried up because they had no roots. Other seed fell among thorny plants. The thorny plants grew and choked the seeds, and they produced nothing. Other seed fell into good soil and bore fruit. Upon growing and increasing, the seed produced in one case a yield of thirty to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of one hundred to one.” He said, “Whoever has ears to listen should pay attention!”
When they were alone, the people around Jesus, along with the Twelve, asked him about the parables. He said to them, “The secret of God’s kingdom has been given to you, but to those who are outside everything comes in parables. This is so that they can look and see but have no insight, and they can hear but not understand. Otherwise, they might turn their lives around and be forgiven.
“Don’t you understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? The farmer scatters the word. This is the meaning of the seed that fell on the path: When the word is scattered and people hear it, right away Satan comes and steals the word that was planted in them. Here’s the meaning of the seed that fell on rocky ground: When people hear the word, they immediately receive it joyfully. Because they have no roots, they last for only a little while. When they experience distress or abuse because of the word, they immediately fall away. Others are like the seed scattered among the thorny plants. These are the ones who have heard the word; but the worries of this life, the false appeal of wealth, and the desire for more things break in and choke the word, and it bears no fruit. The seed scattered on good soil are those who hear the word and embrace it. They bear fruit, in one case a yield of thirty to one, in another case sixty to one, and in another case one hundred to one.”
A couple of thoughts popped into my head while reading this passage. The first is the timing of the Realm of G_d. It was a popular belief that G_d’s Realm was to come at the end of history. It would be the last thing after everything else. What Jesus set out to do was show that G_d’s promised Realm was to come within history. He said in Mark 1, “The time promised by G_d has come at last! Here comes G_d’s [Realm].” In other words, G_d’s promised Realm started with the Incarnation and continues to spread even to this day.
This leads me to the second thought.
The next thing that came to me is in the form of a question. What if we understood “the word” as Jesus instead of the Gospel? John wrote that Jesus, “was the Word.” So, instead of spreading stories about Jesus in the world, what if we spread Jesus? What if Jesus is saying that the expansion of the Realm of G_d is not the message of Jesus but Jesus himself? What if we’re supposed to be Christ to the world? What if Jesus meant that we’re to continue his Way of Living - a life of sacrificial, loving service for all?
I think that just completely changes the whole thing.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br. Jack+, LC