Parables of life

The sower

From the Gospel of Mark Chapter 4 Verses 1-12

Jesus again began teaching at the sea. And so great a congregation gathered around him, that he was forced to climb into the boat and sat down at sea, while the whole crowd was on the ground along the shore. He taught them many things in parables and told them in his teaching: "Hear! Behold, the sower went to sow. Now, it came to pass that in sowing part of the seed he fell down the road, the birds came down and they caught him. Other fell into a rocky place, where it did not find much land and immediately emerged, having no deep ground, but when the sun rose, it dried up, and as it had no roots, it withered, and another fell among the thorns but the thorns grew and choked it and not It yielded fruit. Other seeds fell into the good soil and yielded fruit, growing and developing, so that they made one thirty, another sixty and a third one hundred. "Then he concluded: " He who has ears to hear, listen". When he was alone, his disciples with the twelve questioned him about the parables.

He said to them: "The mystery of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those who are outside everything is proposed in parables, so that they look good but do not see, they hear well but do not understand, so that they are not converted and forgiven them and he said to them: "Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the others? The sower sows the Word. Now those who are along the road, are those in whom the Word is sown, and when they have heard it immediately, Satan comes and they take away the Word sown in them: likewise those who have received the seed in rocky ground, are those who after hearing the Word, immediately receive it with joy, but have no roots in themselves and are unstable, and when tribulation occurs or a persecution because of the Word, they immediately succumb, others receive the seed among thorns: they are those who have heard the Word, but the cares of the world, the seductions of riches and the lusts of every other kind, penetrating in them, they suffocate the Word, which remains without bearing fruit. Those, finally, who have received the seed in good soil, are those who listen to the Word, receive it and produce fruit, some thirty, some sixty and one hundred".

Mark's Parable exegesis

In the Chapter that precedes this parable, Mark describes Jesus exposed to criticism, derision and then to the decision of death sentence by the Pharisees and scribes; their intolerance increased from hour to hour, to see how Jesus taught the increasingly numerous crowd that followed him. In this Chapter, Mark makes a synthesis of some parables that emphasize the importance of the Word, of which that of the sower is an introduction to all the others. The "parable of the sower" therefore serves to understand how to place ourselves in front of the Word of Jesus: only those who receive the seed on good ground bear fruit.

There are four passages (terrains) with which Jesus reveals how His word can be spread, listened to, accepted and put to good use; and the evangelist Mark, in reporting them in this parable, intends to refer to the proclamation action that the apostles make of the Gospel. If we compare Luke in the Acts of the Apostles, with regard to the description of the life of the first Christian community, the fact that what united the community was precisely the Word, the announcement of the "living" presence of Jesus, is well emphasized" Then those who received his word were baptized and that day about three thousand people were added.

They were persevering in the teaching of the apostles and in communion, in breaking bread and in prayers. A sense of fear was in everyone, and wonders and signs took place through the work of the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common; they sold their properties and substances and shared them with everyone, according to their needs. Every day they were persevering together in the temple and, breaking bread in the houses, they took food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Meanwhile, the Lord added to the community those who were saved".
(Acts 2,41-47).

And this message provoked unexpected reactions, because all those who listened felt themselves struck in the heart: it is the power of the living Word, of sharing a presence that calls for perfection, it is the word of the Gospel, the announcement of the Risen Lord, the presence of Jesus!

The parable of the Gospel of Mark is centered entirely on listening to the Word, on Jesus who continues to teach through his apostles and on the importance that all this finds "fertile land" so that it has no end. Here then is the legacy left by Jesus, the mission left to His descendants: he announces, preaches and teaches. Here then is how to stand in front of the word: listen, welcome and bear fruit.

Listening is important: it is not said, in fact, that the Word must be heard, but listened to; listening is the act of those who are interested, of those who are convinced of the importance of what they are receiving; then the desire to understand in depth what is heard is triggered. But a fundamental premise, in order to be able to listen, is to tune in to His word, because this alone reveals to us the truths of God: if Jesus gives us knowledge, it is evident that we need to understand him more and more, even if it is not always easy; the parable emphasizes the presence of three "terrains" that do not bear fruit, a common characteristic of those who may feel, but certainly do not listen. If you do not listen, the Word cannot take effect because it cannot be understood: it is the intellect that must guide us towards wisdom, involving the will to understand with determination, without hesitation (as in the rocky terrain, which does not allow to sink the roots and therefore makes them unstable) and without being distracted by the flattering temptations of the world (as in the ground covered with thorns, which suffocates the blossoming of possible fruits). It is not enough to understand: you have to decide what to do!

it is illuminating the story of that person who, after listening and understanding, receives the invitation of Jesus "come! follow me! But at these words he turned dark and went away sad" (Mk 10,21-22) : does not accept the invitation, because it does not want to take this decision, that is to answer the call. Jesus gives you confidence, so much so that he already wants you with him (follow me!) But it is your will that decides whether to accept the invitation or to refuse; and this willpower conquers it only when you understand the power of the Word, you understand that only He can guide you: that man went away, because he did not accept to be guided, "but if you let yourself be guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The behavior of those who are carnal are well known: fornication, impurity, libertinism [...].

The fruit of the Spirit, on the other hand, is love, joy, peace, patience, benevolence, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control"(Gal 5,18-23). To understand if we truly obey the Spirit of Jesus, we need to see if in us we bear the fruits of the Spirit, those fruits that modify our thoughts and behaviors Bringing fruit does not mean giving an account of our human achievements, but applying and amplifying the gifts of the Spirit by putting into practice the teachings of Jesus, who in the measure of the thirty, who of the sixty and who of the hundred or, with reference to the "Parable of the Talents", who of the double of what has received: "there are different charisms, but only one is the Spirit; there are several ministries, but only one is the Lord; there are different activities, but only one is God, who operates everything in everyone.

To each one is given a particular manifestation of the Spirit for good: to one, in fact, by means of the Spirit, the language of wisdom is given; to another instead, by the same Spirit, the language of knowledge; to one, in the same Spirit, faith; to another, in the one Spirit, the gift of healings; to one the power of miracles; to another the gift of prophecy; to another the gift of discerning spirits; to another the variety of languages. But all these things are fulfilled by the one and the same Spirit, distributing them to each one as he wishes".
(1Co 12,4-11).

And it is in this sense that we bear fruit in the measures expressed by the parables of the sower and the talents, in relation to the gifts received; while the three lands that do not bear fruit correspond to the inner tribulation, to that conflict which does not give peace until one totally adheres to the Word of Jesus: only by deciding to follow Him to the end, you will be able to defeat all greed and make money with the His help, those gifts (talents) that have been given to you, so that you too can offer your voluntary and active participation in the fulfillment of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The sower - Matthew

From the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 13, Verses 3-9.18,23

He spoke to them of many things in parables.
And he said: "Behold, the sower went out to sow. And as he sowed part of the seed he fell on the road and the birds came and devoured it. Another part fell into a rocky place, where there was not much land; for the ground was not deep. But when the sun came up, it was burned and having no roots, it dried up. Another part fell on the thorns and the thorns grew and choked it. Another part fell on the good earth and gave fruit, where the hundred, where the sixty, where the thirty. Who has ears means".

You therefore understand the parable of the sower: every time one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and steals what has been sown in his heart: this is the seed sown along the road. What was sown in the rocky ground is the man who hears the word and immediately welcomes it with joy, but he has no root in himself and is inconstant, so that as soon as tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he is scandalized . The one sown among the thorns is he who hears the word, but the preoccupation of the world and the deceit of riches choke the word and it does not bear fruit. The one sown in the good earth is he who hears the word and understands it; these give fruit and now produce the hundred, now the sixty, now the thirty".

The sower - Luke

From the Gospel of Luke Chapter 8 Verses 5-9.11.15

"The sower went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, part fell along the road and was trampled, and the birds of the sky devoured it. Another part fell on the stone and as soon as sprouted it dried up for lack of humidity. Another fell in the midst of the thorns and the thorns, grown together with it, choked her. Another fell on the good earth, sprouted and yielded a hundred times more". Having said this, he exclaimed: "Whoever has ears to hear, understand!".
His disciples asked him about the meaning of the parable.

The meaning of the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The seeds fallen along the road are those who have listened to it, but then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they do not believe and are thus saved. Those on the stone are those who, when they listen, welcome the word with joy, but have no root; they believe for a while, but in the hour of temptation they fail.
The seed fallen in the midst of thorns are those who, after having listened, let themselves be overcome by worries, wealth and pleasures of life and do not reach maturity. The seed fallen on the good earth are those who, after listening to the word with a good and perfect heart, keep it and produce fruit with their perseverance.