WEDNESDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME JANUARY 29, 2020
A reading from the holy Gospel according to 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: "And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
The Butchart Gardens in Vancouver Island are the most beautiful collection of flowers in the world. It was originally a cement plant built on limestone. When the quarry dried up for limestone, the owners began loading the area with top soil and from there developed the Sunken Gardens, the Japanese Gardens, the Rose Gardens and the Italian Gardens. Today it is National Historic Site of Canada with millions of bedding plants in over 900 varieties.
The sower is Jesus and he sows the word. But if the seed falls on the road it quickly dies as the seed is unable to flourish as there are no roots. Those seeds that fell in the weeds got choked up and were unable to bear fruit. "And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
As evidenced in the transformation of the lime quarry into a National Historic Site, hard work, proper care, proper nutrition, proper fertilization is needed for a seedling to grow into a beautiful plant. There are people with hardened hearts, with personal problems or tragedies, disillusionments and disappointments. Their soils need to be softened and loosened up so that they may be open to the Gospel.
Prayer starts the process followed by time spent with Jesus in silence. Praying, obeying the commandments, sacrificing, attending daily mass, and receiving the sacraments make for nutritious soils for our faith and the Kingdom of God to grow.