On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up.
by Father Greg Friedman, OFM
For many years, I’ve worked at a parish that draws its members in part from a rural, farming area. Folks who work on a farm usually attend our earliest Sunday Mass. They’re a fascinating congregation to work with. I’m only guessing, but I wonder if their openness to the word of God has anything to do with their connection to the earth. The cycle of growing, the passage of seasons, the risks of planting crops—all these activities teach a lot about life.
Perhaps that’s why the Scriptures use farming images so frequently. Today’s first reading describes the fertility of the word of God. It bears fruit, watered by rain and snow. In the Gospel Jesus tells the famous parable of sower and seed to describe how the word comes to people and how they receive it.
I wonder how my parishioners who labor with seed and soil will hear these Scriptures this season? Will they caution me to let go of my fears about ministry and trust in the fruitful working of God’s word? Will they remind me to be tolerant of myself when my receptiveness of the seed of the word is less than perfect? Will they encourage me to rejoice when God’s word bears fruit? Maybe it’s time to get my own hands dirty in the soil of the word!
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
• How does Isaiah see God’s word, according to the first reading (Is 55:10-11)? (Hint: like rain that causes seeds to grow and produce good food for us to eat)
How is this reading related to our other two readings today, especially the Gospel?
• In the second reading (Rom 8:18-23), Paul describes how all creation suffers from the effects of human sin. What does he mean when he says all creation is longing for the revelation of the children of God?
What is our human destiny? That are we longing for?
• In this week’s Gospel, Jesus tells the “Parable of the Sower.” Does he explain its meaning?
What is the seed? Have you ever seen a seed start growing? (Parents could teach their children by planting some seeds in good soil and caring for them in a pot or the garden)
Why do some seeds grow and give a good harvest, while some seeds do not?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
• Take care of your feathered friends by making some birdseed cookies to hang in your backyard. The Audubon society has a video on how to do it. Or get a bird feeder, fill it up, and watch the birds gather.
• Go outside either early in the morning or in the evening. Sit for a while and close your eyes. Take in the sounds around you and embrace each for the blessing it is.