The Parable of the Sower has always intrigued me. As such, when I saw that it was the Gospel reading for today I immediately got excited and I simultaneously got nervous, because the passages that intrigue me tend to also confuse me. So how am I to offer a reflection on a passage that I struggle to take to a deeper level? I think the best way is to just let Jesus do the work.
In the passage, Jesus neither confirms nor denies whether the people of the path, rocky ground, thorns, or rich soil are permanently fixed or movable. I think that it is fair to assume that these positions are transient. One day I can be the excited one without roots because I ground my Christian life in my own efforts. When living this way I can get pumped up by the challenge of issued by Paul in the first reading to, “keep the commandment without stain or reproach.” Then, like the spiritual toddler I can be sometimes, I try to do it all myself and, low and behold, I don’t have the roots to feed such an endeavor. Without reliance upon God’s grace and the cross, I dry up and find myself cut off by the cold hardness of a rocky reality.
But this encounter with reality doesn’t have to be the moment of ultimate defeat, it can become a “hitting rock bottom” moment of conversion, one that can open me up to the grace of God. With God all things are possible: the solid rock can become fertile soil just as the bread and wine become his own Body and Blood.
Looking at this parable that way I find the three classical sources of Sin expounded: the devil, the flesh, and the world, respectively. So, I invite you to spend time asking the Sower “What soil is Your Word falling on today?” Do so by praying through Jesus’ explanation of the parable (Lk 8:11-15). Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where your obstacles are coming from and implore Him to restore you to fertile, rich soil.
Finally, if your prayer reveals that you are not just in danger of being carried off, withering up, or being choked off, but that you are already in the bird’s beak, withered, or strangled by the vines of the World, please, seek the mercy and goodness of our Lord in the sacrament of Mercy: Reconciliation. Then, you, like the Psalmist, can “Give thanks to him; bless his name” because you will know that “he is good: the LORD, whose kindness endures forever.”