Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
I have never really liked this Gospel. As a perfectionist, it just feels like a judgement. You see, I am not always the good soil. If I’m being honest, the reality is that I can be every one of these soils, sometimes all in the span of one day. And really, I think that’s true of all of us: Sometimes we hear what God is saying, but we don’t fully grasp it and adhere to it, and our own sinfulness robs us quickly of the resolutions we made. Sometimes we are living our faith with joy and determination, but something shakes us and our weaknesses are exposed. Other times, our own anxiety over life chokes out the joy of the Gospel in us. And then, sometimes, we are rich soil that receives what God is speaking with joy, and it takes root in us and bears fruit for the world.
So, when Jesus lists an explanation of all of these different types of soil and what they represent, if you’re anything like me, it just feels like a lot of added pressure to be perfect. I feel like Jesus is standing there telling me to work harder and strive more so that I become the “good soil” – and I just get discouraged.
But very recently I heard a homily on this Gospel that changed my perspective completely. The priest said that this Gospel is actually not about the soil at all – it’s about the farmer. Let me explain: You see, we could focus on whether or not the soil was good enough to give growth to the seed, and on all of the ways the bad soil isn’t like the good soil, and we could size up our own faith and judge ourselves with it. But when we focus only on the soil, we miss a very important detail about the sower in the parable that Jesus is referencing: The seed fell on all of those different types of ground because the sower did not take any time at all – not one single second – to consider whether or not the soil was good enough. He just continued scattering the seed, indiscriminately.
God is the farmer in this story; he is the one sowing the seed. And Jesus wants us to hear this: The point of this parable is not whether we are good soil; the point of this parable is that God is a very bad farmer. He does not waste time deciding whether we are good enough to receive his love. He loves us indiscriminately, foolishly, wastefully, with a blatant disregard for whether or not we are worthy of it. He doesn’t wait until we are good soil; he just continues to sow his love in our hearts in every moment.
Jesus is not calling us to hear this parable and be scandalized by our own imperfections. No; He is calling us to hear this parable, receive His love, and then learn to follow His example and love the world indiscriminately.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
Have you ever thought of this parable in that way before? That God loves us, loves you, so much that He would sow the seed on all those types of soil. Why do you think He does that?
How can you work to be more consistently "good soil" without letting it overwhelm you?
What type of soil are you most like today? What are some small steps you can make to be more receptive to God today?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"How He loves us."
"God is love."
"Make me like the rich soil Lord."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Receive God's love today. Even if you are not as rich of a soil as you would like to be, God is still offering you His love. That love can help you become a better soil, so let Him transform your heart instead of trying to be perfect first.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Megan Miller, the Co-director of Catechesis and Evangelization at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Gurnee, IL
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