The parables make God and our response to God very simple… because God in his essence is very simple and understanding our response to God is equally as simple.
The seeds fall in various qualities of soil.
Now, the first thing we need to understand is that Jesus is describing people – like you and I.
The various qualities of soil represent people and their response to God – and Jesus lists just four broad categories. Does every human response fall into at least one of the four categories?
For the purposes of today‘s homily it’s the second category that grabs my attention. Jesus describes some people as being like seed that “fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away.”
I’m sure you’ve often heard me say that I’ve always been a little perplexed by those who leave the Church, particularly by those who leave the Church citing the scandals as the reason. This makes no sense to me but it does point to a deeper truth – a truth which Jesus is suggesting here.
My immediate reaction has always been puzzlement expressed in a question; did they never encounter Christ in the Liturgy – even once, never mind every time or every other time they celebrate the Liturgy – knowing full well that if they had, leaving the Church would be like winning the lotto and failing to claim your winnings! It just doesn’t happen.
Well, here in today‘s Gospel Jesus is making a similar argument suggesting that the reason many people fall away is that they have no root.
This is what I mean when I say that people can come through the doors here for 40 years without ever encountering Christ… they have no root.
So when the sun comes up they’re scorched which means when they encounter trials such as the scandals they fall away – they’re scorched. Of course, Christ knew that this would happen – “obstacles are sure to come… better for him to be thrown into the sea… than that he should lead astray a single one…” Luke 17:1-3
Jesus lists three other categories of people but I’ll look only at one more – briefly.
Some seeds fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked them. When Jesus is asked to explain the thorns He says they represent the worries of this world and the lure of riches which choke the life of God out of us!
Now that’s most interesting because I’ve always believed that the basic difference between the believer and the unbeliever is how we spend our time. The most basic reason people do not believe and fall away… has to do with how we spend our time. If I spent my time like you spend yours, I wouldn’t believe either!
In conclusion, here in the parable of the sower Christ demolishes our arguments for falling away and for unbelief.
He makes it… simple!