Parable of the Sower

A Reflection on the Parable of the Sower
Matthew 13: 1-23

In the Gospel for next weekend we hear the Parable of the Sower, the first in a long series of parables in Matthew. These stories that Jesus told are something like puzzles with their last line often catching us by surprise. Sometimes they make us uncomfortable and so we resist the depth of their meaning.Some parables we understand more easily than others and some remain mysteries to us for many years. The Parable of the Sower reminds me of an experience I once had several years ago.

I recall the huge garden I was tending for a friend who was away for a few weeks. It was the size of an Olympic swimming pool. After planting, weeding, and waiting in great anticipation the time for harvesting arrived. I was alone that Sunday afternoon and it was all I could do to pick the abundance of zucchini and beans. As I worked quietly I pictured myself as the seed falling on good soil that was accepting of God’s Word and bringing forth a great harvest. I thought of times when the seed fell on rocky soil and my mind was closed to God’s Word because of things like prejudice or fear of hearing the truth. Then there were the times when the seed of God’s Word was crowded out of my busy life so full of its many interests.

That day as I quietly paid attention to getting every bean under every leaf, I began to wonder what I was going to do with two hundred pounds of zucchini and more beans than an army could eat. As I lifted each leaf I recalled that perhaps I should be thinking about being the farmer rather than the seed. The farmer waits patiently for the harvest to come. He or she knows that the harvest is always meant to feed others. The farmer sows, waits, watches, and in due time, harvests the gifts, and shares them with others. And then the cycle begins again: sowing, waiting, watching, harvesting, and giving away.

As the sun began to move lower in the sky that Sunday afternoon, I put the gifts of the harvest into brown bags and then drove into the city. I invited people to take what they needed. That day in the garden taught me that I cannot remain the seed that bears fruit. Eventually I must become the sower who gives away the gifts to others.
I am reminded that at every Eucharist we bring forth gifts that represent the effort, time, and love of each of us. These gifts are then transformed into Jesus and given back to us so that we can share them with others.
~Peggy Duffy, OSU