In many areas of life, if you are to retain a skill, it is generally a good idea to return to that which is foundational. We usually call it getting back to basics.
Such is the case in the Gospel readings over the next several weeks. Our attention is directed towards the parables of Jesus. While these are all familiar lessons that most of us have heard before, yet there is something foundational about them. If we truly love the Lord, then we will value his teaching about the kingdom. One of the ways in which he taught comprehensively about the kingdom was through the use of these stories that we have come to know as parables. “Earthly stories that have a heavenly meaning,” is what my dad used to teach as the definition of parables during my youth, at which time he served as a Sunday School teacher in our neighborhood parish.
Though our communities of Tioga County are changing with the influx of the gas drillers, yet we may still readily appreciate the parable of the seed and the sower. Most of us have gardens of one sort or another. Many of us can hardly wait for mid May so that we can get our hands in the soil after a long, winter. It feels good and it brings us joy to work the soil, to plant the seeds.
What we may not always appreciate is that we plant seeds in other areas of our lives as well. For some they may be seeds of joy and happiness. For others, those seeds may be the incessant complaint of hopes unrealized. For some they may be seeds in the spirit of Charles Baudelaire, “les fleurs de mal” flowers of evil. But in Christ we are called to sow seeds of hope, seeds of joy, seeds of the kingdom. Revisiting the parable of the sower and the seed provides the occasion for us to examine what’s in our garden, what we have planted, and what we need to weed. For we would neither wish to present to others or to the Lord Jesus a garden of burdock, nettles, and thistles.
For me, the parable of the seed and the sower is a powerful reminder that it is never enough for us to go about being kind, gentle, and relatively harmlessly non-malicious.
We are called to be proactively good, to seek not only that which is good but that which is worthy of Jesus’ vision of the kingdom of God.