The Parable of the Sower and the Seed is a familiar one, and one in which we automatically believe we know its meaning. And yet that is the point of the parable, that we might not fully hear or understand the fullness of the mystery conveyed to us. The mystery in which Jesus speaks to us about today takes careful listening skills, understanding, and contemplation.
This past year there was a Pew Study on religiosity in our culture. Almost three out of four young people identify with no religion. Now there is a lot that goes into that conclusion. They may have not been raised in a religion, may have been baptized and not much else, or they have rejected religion for themselves. A survey done by the Pastoral Life Center some years ago found that most young people identify themselves as religious but not spiritual. To be sure in the post-modern era most young people are looking for some sort of immediate, and instant fulfillment. Joy and happiness at the end of life does not appeal to many people in the world today.
The Parable today has us understand that the Word of God is spread broadly and generously. The seed that is spread is good. But the soil needs to be properly prepared and readied for the reception of the soil. The seed then has to make sense to those who receive it. If the soil is too base or acidic then the seed cannot mature and produce much fruit.
Are our communities, catechesis, and evangelization, instruments of unity and communion or do they detract from the very message they are supposed to deliver. It is difficult for our teens to understand the Eucharist as a sacrifice and as a meal, but when they are given a chance to serve the poor, visit the elderly, discuss issues of justice and peace, they begin to see the dynamics of the self-giving conveyed in the Eucharist. Certainly we do not mean for Church to become a social service agency, but if we can help connect the dots the Word of God begins to take root in the hearts and lives of all people.
The Word of God took flesh and dwelt among us. For this we are eternally thankful.