The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
July 12, 2020 – Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 13:1-23
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I have never been a farmer, but in my two primary jobs, that of being a parent and a teacher, I tried to do what farmers did. Be a good sower. Plant seeds, and hope that something results that is alive and grows to maturity. Today’s gospel is for anyone who tries to accomplish this goal.
I begin by noting there are two kinds of “sowers.” The cynic sower says, “Why even try. It won’t work.” The hopeful sower says, “Give it a try. It might work.” The one ends up doing nothing and the other does everything. Jesus prefers we be the latter kind of sower.
I was a teacher and professor for forty years. I entered many classrooms, sowed my seeds of wisdom, and then read thousands of student papers and exams. Sometimes I happily concluded that at times my seeds feel on inquisitive and open minds. Sometimes my words left me, bounced off the classroom walls and ceiling, and then fell to the floor.
I could say something similar about the parental wisdom that I sought to share with our children. Thoughts of failure or indifference never stopped me – and still don’t. I wanted to be the good sower who, as the gospel begins, “went out to sow.” Day after day, year after year.
And that’s the way it is. Occasional successful plantings resulted, but not always. So, what are we to do? Quit, or keep trying. Clearly, Jesus would have us do the latter. Even Jesus himself knew of failure. Some listened to his words and walked away. A few stayed with him to the end, but then, went away and hid. But he remained faithful to what he felt called to do. And he invites us to do the same.
My teaching days are mostly ended, but still continue as my writing of these Nazareth pages testifies. But my parenting (and now grandparenting) “job” remains.
There are always good reasons for us to quit on tasks that we imagine might fail. We all have experienced times of an undesired or unsuccessful harvest. Hopelessness can be a tempting option. But if you want to remain as God’s Spirit urges, get out there and plant a few more seeds.
©David M. Thomas, PhD