Homily for the fifteenth Sunday of the year
Year A - Mt. 13:1-9


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat there; and the whole crowd stood on the beach.


"And he told them many things in parables, saying: 'A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, 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 upon 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. He who has ears, let him hear.' "





Homily:


"That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat there; and the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: 'A sower went out to sow.' "


These days, in our industrialized countries, we no longer very often see farmers sowing their fields by hand: there are machines that do this more quickly. Nevertheless, the image of the sower, as used by Jesus, has not altogether disappeared from our consciousness. One proof of this, among others, is that on some denominations of the Euro there is an image of a well-known sower: that which adorns money of French origin!


This sower is a figure that has existed for over a century, a figure that we have seen over and over again on the postage stamps found on the letters that we or our parents have received from such and such a French correspondent... But what could this sower represent? On this subject, someone has said: "This Republic that we see walking symbolizes the pacific intentions of the Nation, of France, the sower of ideas. The sun, on the right, expresses the universal dawn that is rising."


Rest assured: I will not be making here a historical analysis of the symbol of the sower... But if a secular republic uses such a symbol to praise the Rights of Man, it is because this same symbol has a crucial importance in the propagation and the defense of the Rights of God! For every symbol, every figure, is a means of conveying an idea, whether it be good or bad. So there can be more than one sower... Let us recall the parable of the tares! There is the good sower, and there is also the evil sower, the adversary (cf. Mt. 13:25).


Let us focus on the good sower, who is God. For God is a sower, the good sower, he who casts upon the world his Word, who is his Son. In fact, Saint Peter, who certainly remembered well this parable of the sower, speaks to us of the seed of the Word: "You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God." (1 P. 1:23) Moreover, Jesus specified that the seed is "the Word of the kingdom" (Mt. 13:19), and thus that the sower is God...


" 'And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.' "


The first case presented to us is that of the seed that falls along the path. Here the path is not Jesus, contrary to what is the case elsewhere (cf. Jn. 14:6). If Jesus is the seed, he is not the path. So what is this path? It is everywhere outside the field, that is, everything outside the kingdom of God. Now, this place outside the kingdom is called hell, where can be found the devil and those whom he has dragged down with him in his fall. Jesus explains this passage in the following manner: "When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart; this is what was sown along the path." (Mt. 13:19)


" 'Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away.' "


Here is seed that falls onto earth! How rich is the meaning of this earth! God, who is the sower, "formed man of dust from the ground" (Gn. 2:7). This earth is thus man, and above all his heart. For the seed, the Word of God, must be loved for what it is: the Truth! But God, who "formed out of the ground every beast of the field and every bird of the air... caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman." (Gn. 2:19...22)


All of this shows that the earth, for it to be the symbol of man in the parable, and above all, for it to be the symbol of the heart of man, must be a deep earth, so deep that God can pull a rib from it, and that, later on, Saint Thomas the Apostle might place his entire hand into it, in order to touch the Heart of the Man-God, the New Adam! If the earth is not deep, then it is earth without heart! And in this earth, or in a man without heart, the seed of God cannot be received... For it finds nothing there through which it can drink the water of life... That water which, on the Cross of Calvary, flows from the Heart of Jesus...


Thus, Jesus explains: "As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away." (Mt. 13:20-21)


" 'Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.' "


The heart of man is made to love. But, as we know well, men love anything at all, both that which is good and that which is evil. The earth, an earth that has heart, a deep earth, is capable of growing anything, or almost anything. It depends on the composition of the earth. But it also depends on what is added to it: fertilizer to help grow the plants we want, or herbicides to kill the weeds. If we use neither fertilizer nor herbicides, then the seed of the Word of God will necessarily be choked by the weeds and brambles...


And Jesus explains to us: "As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful." (Mt. 13:22)


" 'Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear!' "


The explanation of Jesus is simple: "As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty." (Mt. 13:23)


When a seed germinates in good soil, the latter holds in itself the roots of the plant that develops in the sun: the seed has, as it were, disappeared into the earth and penetrated into it... It is thus that the Word of God penetrates into the heart of man... But the heart of man cannot take and hold within itself a Word that surpasses it, for it cannot understand that Word, since it is the very Word of God. So it is only with the help of faith that the heart of man, thanks to God, can understand and retain in itself the seed of the Word of God...


Finally, all this leads us to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. For who can better understand the Word of God and meditate it in their heart than she? Let us ask Mary to intercede on our behalf with her Divine Son, in order that through her and with her, we might bear fruit for the advancement of the kingdom of God, on earth as in Heaven!




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