Fr Maurice: the fruit of the few
Dear Holy People of God,
Today’s liturgy of the Word presents us with the famous parable of the sower in which Jesus gives us four categories of soil that receives the Gospel, Matthew 13:1-23.
It’s not often the case that in the Scriptures you have Jesus explaining the parables themselves. Usually you just give out the teaching and expect the students to do the homework and find the meaning themselves. But the parable of the sower is one of those exceptions in which Jesus gives us an interpretation–an exegesis of the parable.
The four categories of soil represent the four categories of persons in light of the quality of our receptivity to the Gospel message.
Have you ever thought that these four soil are four aspects of your own life? If you look at the Lord’s explanation of the soil, it becomes possible to personalize the four soils.
It says that some seeds fell on the path and birds came and ate them (Mt 13:4). In other words, it had been taken by enemies. Sometimes the spiritual life is like that, you can see the birds eating up everything, you can see there is nothing left. I don’t know about you, but sometimes, in my own spiritual life, I feel that.
He talks about the second soil of the broken ground (Mt 13:5-6). It was new soil, it wasn’t deep. And when the sun rose the plants were scorched and withered for lack of roots. There times the spiritual life is like that as well. At the time, to use the words of a poet, you “thank heavens!” You are so happy! But then there is a difference between such an experience and life that returns to normalcy when you have to face some grim realities.
Some seeds fell among thorns of the third soil, and the thorns grew and choked them (Mt 13:7). The burdens of life that distract from the Gospel; the burdens that can make being a Christian a very weary experience. As Jesus is talking about responding to the Gospel, you could be thinking, why do I have to put up with so much in order to be a Christian. Isn’t it easier to just walk away? Why must I suffer so much in being a Christian. The thorns of life, and the weights we have to carry.
The Lord speaks of the fourth soil’s fruitfulness Mt 13:8). So 100 some 60 and some 30.
Sometimes we wonder, and maybe rightly so, what is the future of the Church? What is the future of our Faith? What is the future of the Parish? What is the future of all the effort we put in to keep these doors open?
The future of the Church resides in the lives of the fruitful. The future of the Church resides in those who bear fruit, in spiritual fruitfulness.
The lives of Saints; those who heard the word and allowed the word to be operative in their lives. Clearly, from the look of things, clearly from the look of things, that future is small; it looks like the few of those who are fruitful.
The Lord gives three categories of unfruitfulness and only one of fruitfulness. So it looks like the majority are fruitless. But the good news is, with the one against the three, that one is the hope of humanity; that one is you and I.
We have the burden of carrying the hope of salvation for the many. It’s a burden, it’s not going to be easy, nor did the Lord promise us it would be easy.
And we dare to hope for the reason of our restlessness. As Augustine said, “you have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
It’s your responsibility, and the future of the Faith resides in the few who are called to work for the many.
It’s not easy, but always remember, when you feel exhausted, remember what the Lord said to Paul: my grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.
May God’s grace be with us as we work for the salvation of the world.