January 29, 2014

The Gospel Today 

Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

Mark 4:1-20

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
“Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
He answered them,
“The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that
they may look and see but not perceive,
and hear and listen but not understand,
in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven
.”

Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

Reflection (Sem. Jorge Santiago, Jr.):

     When I was still in grade school, I remember my late grandfather who always dug the soil in our backyard to plant different types of vegetables. It was his hobby; to cultivate our vacant lot and plant it with vegetables for personal consumption and for selling if there were excess. My grandfather was very meticulous on how he planted his seeds. His agenda was to have 100% harvest. He will never plant the seeds without clearing the ground; removing all the dead leaves and grass. Then afterwards, he would plough the soil and loosen it until it smoothens. After that, he would carefully plant the seeds in between the spaces needed in order for the seeds to receive same amount of nutrients. But after planting, his work did not end, he had to take care of it until it grows and bear fruits.

     Our Gospel for today speaks about Jesus telling the crowd about the Parable of the Sower. He told them how the seeds were sown differently. Some fell on the ground and were eaten by the birds, some fell on the rocky ground which sprang immediately then withers, some fell along with thorns which eventually choked it and some fell on good soil and bore fruit more than expected.

     We do not need to become a rocket scientist in order for us to understand the nature of planting seeds. It is true that when a seed is planted on a good soil, it will definitely grow and will bear fruit when the time comes. What we need to understand is the meaning of the seed that Jesus is talking about in this parable. He said that the seed represents the Word of God and how it was sown represents how we accept it.

     Just like my grandfather, the challenge for us is to know how to plant the seed and how to take care of it. We have to know the preparations needed before planting the seeds and to know how to take care of it when sown. With the help of prayers, we may be able to plant the Word of God in a good soil so that it will grow and bear fruit more than expected.

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