Again, Jesus began to teach by the lake; but such a large crowd gathered about him, that he got into a boat and sat in it on the lake, while the crowd stood on the shore. He taught them many things through parables. In his teaching he said, “Listen! The sower went out to sow. As he sowed, some of the seed fell along a path; and the birds came and ate it up. Some of the seed fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil; it sprang up immediately, because it had no depth; but when the sun rose and burned it, it withered, because it had no roots. Other seed fell among thorn bushes; and the thorns grew and choked it; so it didn’t produce any grain. But some seed fell on good soil, grew and increased and yielded grain; some seed produced thirty times as much, some sixty, and some one hundred times as much.” And Jesus added, “Listen then, if you have ears.”
When the crowd went away, some who were around him with the Twelve asked about the parables.
He answered them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But for those outside, everything comes in parables, so, that, the more they see, they don’t perceive; the more they hear, they don’t understand; otherwise they would be converted and pardoned.”
Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How, then, will you understand any of the parables?
What the sower is sowing is the word. Those along the path, where the seed fell, are people who hear the word, but as soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.
Other people receive the word like rocky ground. As soon as they hear the word, they accept it with joy. But they have no roots, so it lasts only a little while. No sooner does trouble or persecution come because of the word, than they fall.
Others receive the seed, as seed among thorns. After they hear the word, they are caught up in the worries of this life, false hopes of riches and other desires. All these come in and choke the word, so that finally it produces nothing.
And there are others who receive the word as good soil. They hear the word, take it to heart and produce: some thirty, some sixty, and some one hundred times as much.”
Today’s first reading is entirely built around the word house taken in two very different meanings. The first meaning is the obvious one and refers to a building used as a home, a dwelling place. This is what David has in mind when he offers God to build him a house of cedar, namely, a temple or sanctuary. God’s reaction to this generous offer could be summed up in this way: “Thank you, David, for your kind offer. But for the past 200 years I have lived in a tent and have never complained about it. But I appreciate your good intention. Instead of you building me a house, I will do the opposite: I will build you a house.” Now here God is taking the word house to mean a dynasty (as in, for example, the House of York, the House of Windsor, etc.). And God specifies that David’s dynasty will last forever! Now is this true? After all, when we visit the Knesset (the Parliament) in Israel, we see a Prime Minister but no king. Did God forget his promise? No, he merely elevated the promised kingship from a local/political level to a universal/spiritual level with the sending of his Son, who claimed to be a king (Jn 18:36), but a king of hearts. And he will be that forever.
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