Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday’s Gospel is the parable of the sower.  We have probably heard this parable many times.  We know that the best of the four scenarios is the one where the seed finds good soil and becomes very fruitful.  We know that the seed sown on the path, on rocky soil, or in thorns all have problems.  None of these other three can come to fruition.

Often, we examine our lives against the three negative scenarios.  We try to figure out how to avoid any of those three.  We likely look for examples of those other three in our own lives.  Other times, we reflect on the gratuitousness of a sower that spreads seed everywhere, even on these other three poor conditions.

Today, I am hoping that we can just reflect on the fourth scenario.  What does it mean for the seed to fall on good soil in our lives?  How do we ensure that we have good soil?

Soil that is considered rich soil is soil that has been cultivated.  It has nutrients.  It has not been over-farmed with other crops previously.  It is primed to receive the seed…to receive this seed.  Just getting the soil ready for the seed takes work.  And there is work to care for the plant from seedling to maturity.

Along with work, there is risk.  Adversities happen that threaten the health of the plant.  Storms, disease, pests, and other things can all jeopardize the life or fruitfulness of the plant. 

In the end, we hope that the work is successful, that risks are mitigated, and that any damages are repaired.  When that happens, the plant bears fruit.  It is not just the fruit that is the point.  It is the multitude of seeds within the fruit.  From one seed can come thousands more seeds.  The yield depends on so many factors – growing conditions, genetics, etc.  But a fruitful plant is a success.

It does not start when the soil receives the seed.  It starts before then.  It begins when the soil is made ready to receive the seed. 

We must be open to receive the word of God.  We must prepare ourselves.  The sacraments are a primary source of nutrients, but prayer is also very important.  We must take on a receptive attitude.  We do so in the model of Christ our head.  The Son of God is begotten of the Father.  He receives all that the Father is and all that the Father has.  And he does so in a receptive manner.  The Son is the one who is begotten.  The Father is the one who begets. 

And, from the Son, we receive.  We are given the word of God by the Word himself.  And we receive the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What are we doing to prepare ourselves to receive?  How are we cultivating our soil?