That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Jesus said, “Listen!” With an exclamation point. He wanted the Apostles to listen deeply.
By telling the parable of the sower, Jesus wasn’t offering tips on farming. He was issuing a wake-up call for the Apostles’ hearts.
Jesus recognized that the soil of their souls was shallow. Rocky. It had insufficient depth. They could eagerly affirm what Jesus taught in the morning, but by high noon the meaning would have withered inside because it had not yet taken root. Or distractions would have stolen away their attention.
How do we prepare our souls to be deep, unencumbered by rocks and thorns, away from birds of prey? Gather. Jesus said, “Wherever two or more are gathered in my name, I will be in their midst.” Do you have a community where you can listen deeply, and where Jesus, the gardener, can prepare the soil of your hearts to receive his word?
—Tom McGrath is a spiritual director and the Director of Trade Books atLoyola Press in Chicago. Click here to enjoy Loyola Press’s “31 Days with St. Ignatius,” a month-long celebration of Ignatian spirituality in honor of St. Ignatius’ Feast Day on July 31. Content includes articles, blog posts, and videos to help you learn about and apply the principles of Ignatian spirituality.
God, grant me the patience to listen deeply to your Word and let it transform me so that I may bear good fruit.
—Tom McGrathPlease share the Good Word with your friends!