July 12, 2020



Chapter 13 of Saint Matthew’s gospel from which is taken our passage this Sunday, is recognized as a collection of parables. Parables are basically a type of comparison by which, placing something one knows next to something one does not know, the unknown becomes known.  Thus, by saying ‘the kingdom of God is like a treasure of great worth’, the kingdom of God is better known because one knows what a treasure of great worth is.  One helps make clearer the other.  While we can expect a collection of parables, such as we find in our passage this Sunday, we can find elsewhere too in Matthew the occasional parable or comparison; it is just that Chapter 13 represents Matthew’s attempt to gather together a number of parables under title of ‘comparisons by which to better understand the Christian’s religious life’ and ‘the kingdom of God’.

With our reading today Jesus, through Matthew’s writing, explains a good part of the mystery of why some people believe and others do not; his is not a thorough explanation, but means to highlight significant aspects of the problem. Matthew’s reference to Jesus ‘coming out of the house’ suggests a place where Jesus is at ease; for how long he stayed in ‘the house’ is not clear, but it seems to hint that Jesus did have a house to which he might retreat when he desired. We are given now the famous parable about a ‘sower sowing seed’.  Like most all parables, there is a certain obscurity in understanding it completely; to explain the parable Jesus offers the interpretation we find in the last 5 verses of our reading.


The first reading today reflects today’s gospel passage. We see in both readings that in his richness, God shares his gifts with us and his plans for us will not be frustrated. The divine word is compared to rain and snow, which makes the earth fertile and fruitful. The divine word is not just a spoken word but it is creative. We can only recognize and appreciate this word when we allow ourselves time for prayer and reflection, silent periods during the day then help us to become aware of the word speaking to us through people and events in our lives. 

The fullest expression of this word is manifested in Jesus Christ of whom St. John testified; In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men [1:1-4]. The Christian pilgrimage is all about cultivating rich soil to receive the Word who is Jesus into our lives. We must rid our lives of the rocky ground which accepts the word but gives up all too easily when our faith is challenged. St. Benedict reminds us’ “Do not be daunted immediately by fear and run away from the road that leads to salvation. It is bound to be narrow at the onset.” [RB Prologue]

The Christian life also demands of us to rid our lives of thorns which choke our spiritual progress and prevents us from producing a rich harvest. Thorns for the Christian is trying to have it both ways; serving God and the world. We must continually purify our deeds and motives in order to serve the living God with our entire being. When we do then we will become rich soil producing a rich harvest of prayer and good works. To achieve a rich harvest we must hear, which means we must listen with an open heart and mind, in order to truly understand. And after understanding we must accept the Word and reflect the demands of Christ through our lived reality. 

This is only possible when we allow God’s grace to freely flow into our hearts and then we truly become rich soil which helps to build the kingdom of God.  



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Updated: July 12, 2020

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