Be the Good Soil

When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another
journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable.
“A sower went out to sow his seed.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled,
and the birds of the sky ate it up.
Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew,
it withered for lack of moisture.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew with it and choked it.
And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew,
it produced fruit a hundredfold.”
After saying this, he called out,
“Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

Then his disciples asked him
what the meaning of this parable might be.
He answered,
“Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God
has been granted to you;
but to the rest, they are made known through parables
so that they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.

“This is the meaning of the parable.
The seed is the word of God.
Those on the path are the ones who have heard,
but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts
that they may not believe and be saved.
Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear,
receive the word with joy, but they have no root;
they believe only for a time and fall away in time of temptation.
As for the seed that fell among thorns,
they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along,
they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life,
and they fail to produce mature fruit.
But as for the seed that fell on rich soil,
they are the ones who, when they have heard the word,
embrace it with a generous and good heart,
and bear fruit through perseverance.”
(Luke 8:4-15)

Scripture Study

8:4 in a parable: parables either reveal or conceal divine mysteries. Here Jesus’ message remains hidden to the crowds, although it is explained to the disciples (8:9–10)

8:6 for lack of moisture Matthew states that the soil was shallow (the soil above the bedrock warms quickly, so seeds readily sprout, but the shallow soil cannot sustain growth – Mt 13:5). Luke clarifies the statement, but the meaning is the same: The plants did not have sufficient root depth to absorb moisture.

8:8 whoever has ears to hear ought to hear with this closing phrase, Jesus is calling on His audience to do more than hear; He wants them to understand and apply His teaching. The Greek verb used here, meaning “to hear” (akouō), is closely related to the verb meaning “to obey” (hypakouō).

[In the Septuagint (the ancient Greek translation of the OT), akouō is used to translate Hebrew and Aramaic terms that call for obedience to God; this conceptual overlap between hearing and obeying is reflected in Luke’s use of akouō. In Acts (also written by Luke), Peter and John state that they must listen (akouō) to God rather than the Jewish leaders (Acts 4:19). Compare Mark 9:7; John 10:8, 16.]

8:10 they may look but not see In another quotation of Isaiah, Jesus compares His ministry with that of the OT prophets (see Isa 6:9–10; compare Jer 5:21; Ezek 12:2). In the same way that Israel rejected Isaiah’s message centuries earlier, many Jews reject Jesus’ teaching. They are unable to see the truth about God’s kingdom concealed within His parables.

8:11 word of God in the context of Jesus’ ministry in the Gospels, “God’s word” or “word of God” typically refers to Jesus’ teaching about God’s kingdom.

8:12 those beside the path the seed described in Luke 8:5. The enemy who devours the seed is the devil, who is successful in preventing some people who hear Jesus’ proclamation from believing it.

8:13 those on the rock the seed described in v. 6. They initially receive the kingdom message but quickly abandon it when testing comes.

8:14 seed that fell into the thorn plants the seed described in v. 7. For these people, the cares and pursuits of their culture prevent their growth and choke out their faith.

8:15 the seed on the good soil the seed described in v. 8. These people receive Jesus’ message and give evidence of it in their lives.

Scripture Reflection

Jesus tells us himself that the seed is the Word of God and his preaching; and that the kinds of ground the seed falls on reflects people’s different attitudes towards Jesus and what he has taught. Our Lord sows the life of grace in souls through the preaching of the Church and through an endless flow of actual graces. However, Jesus foresaw that, due to the bad dispositions of some who hear his words, his parables would lead them to harden their hearts and to reject his grace.

The Lord tells us that the good soil has three distinct features — listening to God’s demands with the good disposition of a generous heart; striving to ensure that we do not fall away from the demands required of the good soil as time goes by; and finally, knowing that this is a lifelong process of beginning and beginning again, therefore, he urges us to persevere if the fruit is slow to appear.

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.