From the editor: February 21, 2014

The Good Sower

A sower went out to sow." (Mat. 13: 3) You know the rest. How many times we have heard this parable, from Sunday School days on? Many times.

And how well have we understood the four types of soil and the responses they represent? Pretty well understood, most likely. So, the Gospel ("the word of the kingdom") is preached to four different sorts of people, and the word is met with four different responses. End of story.

Christ Icon
Christ: The Good Sower

But there is another way of looking at this parable. All fours kinds of soil can be found all mixed up in one person. At least it seems that way for me. I may often receive (by reading, prayer, or other means) "a word of the kingdom"—one that makes a claim on my obedience to the King. Such as those times in church when Scripture is read or preached and I am simply not paying attention—it fell on the wayside, snatched by the devil! The Desert Fathers considered distracting thoughts as coming from the devil. (Or when I read a daily Bible lesson—30 minutes later I can't remember it! It's just gone!)

Sometimes, I think I understand the word but fall short of living it—not practicing self-sacrificing caritas, for example. I know what the Word teaches, but it hasn't penetrated deeply, or "taken over," yet. A field of dirt is to become a field of wheat. Other times "cares of the world" stunt my obedience; concerns about "riches," too.

Lent begins in less than two weeks. It is a good time to take stock of the condition of the soil of our souls. We all know the inattentiveness, hardness, anxieties and desires that conspire to inhibit growth that comes from God's gracious word: ". . . receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." (James 1:21)

Thus we may profitably meditate on the words of Jeremiah, words that Jesus was surely familiar with when he spoke his parable: "Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns." (4:3)

But remember: The SEED that is sown is GOOD seed. It will bring forth a good harvest—if we just let it do its work in our hearts.

—James M. Kushiner