"Some fell on rocky ground, where it has little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots" (Matthew 13: 5-6).
Then there are the hearers who have minds like the rocky ground. Some people begin well but do not have the willpower to persevere. Sloth and superficiality make them dance to the whim of every new Pied Piper.
"Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. (Matthew 13: 7).
Some hearers have so many worldly interests that the things of God get crowded out. Visits from relatives or the prospect of a Sunday excursion allow them to excuse themselves from Sunday Mass. They may put off the Sacrament of Confession for six to twelve months. They relegate daily prayer to the last moment of the day. The potential saint remains like one of Michelangelo’s unfinished masterpieces.
“But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirty fold” (Matthew 13: 8).
Finally, there are those who are like the good ground. This is where we find the true disciples of Jesus. Their minds are open and they have the willingness to listen. Their humble and peaceful souls are always attentive to the Holy Spirit. Their souls listen and understand. They accept the Word and put it into action. Their lives are transformed; they become new persons in Christ. The real hearers are those who listen, understand and live out the Word of God in the daily circumstances of their lives.
This Sunday’s parable can also be understood as a spiritual journey. There are people who are far away from God and then they have a dramatic change in their lives. These people are suddenly transformed from having a soul like the rocky ground to having a soul that is like the rich soil.
Also, we need to consider that many people struggle a lot during most of their lives. After an initial change, perhaps due to a retreat experience, they desire to have a soul that is like the rich soil, but they continue to struggle with sins and attachments that are keeping them from a more intimate relationship with God. Perhaps these people need to be more generous with God.
Certainly, the goal is to have a soul like the rich soil. Those who have acquired this level of spirituality will recognize that they need to continually cultivate the rich soil. The spiritual life is a constant battle that requires a serious spiritual life, self-reflection and a lot of mortification.
Finally, this Sunday’s parable has profound implications for anyone who has been given the responsibility of the formation of souls. Here I am thinking of parents, grandparents, parish priests, deacons and CCD teachers. All of these people must never be discouraged by the difficulties that they may find along the way as they lovingly sow the seeds of God’s Word. Patience and perseverance are two essential virtues for anyone who wants to help others get to heaven.
Fr. James Farfagliais the Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, TX. You can visit him on the web at www.fatherjames.org.