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4 Sketches in which to see ourselves

Parable of the sower Lawria


Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 09/17/22

We are capable of great openness of heart. Do we have it?
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Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

As Jesus’ fame grows, so do the crowds who follow him. But it’s always dangerous to settle for crowds, because what makes the difference isn’t the numbers but how well they listen.

This is why Jesus tells the parable of the sower:

“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew, it withered for lack of moisture. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced fruit a hundredfold.”

Through this story, Jesus gives his listeners four sketches in which they can see themselves.

There are those who listen to Jesus distractedly and superficially, and then what they’ve heard is immediately obliterated by any diversion.

Others can listen to Jesus’ word with the emotional enthusiasm of those who are immediately enthused, but who shut down just as quickly as soon as their emotions run out.

Then there are those who listen but then become discouraged by life’s difficulties and thus stop taking seriously what they have understood.

Finally, there are those who listen with openness of heart, without superficial enthusiasm, without letting themselves be discouraged, and the word bears fruit in them.

Who knows how many people stopped following Jesus after hearing this story, or decided to change the way they were following him? It’s a question for us as well: Are we superficial? Have we reduced faith to emotion? Do we only want God to deliver us from our worries?

Or are we instead among those who follow him and listen with all the openness of heart of which we are be capable?


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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