Gospel: Lk 8:4-15
As a great crowd gathered, and people came to him from every town, Jesus began teaching them with a story: “The sower went out to sow the seed. And as he sowed, some of the seed fell along the way, was trodden on, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground; and no sooner had it come up than it withered, because it had no water. Some seed fell among thorns; the thorns grew up with the seed and choked it. But some seed fell on good soil and grew, producing fruit, a hundred times as much!” And Jesus cried out, “Listen then, if you have ears to hear!”
The disciples asked him, “What does this story mean?” And Jesus answered, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God. But to others it is given in the form of stories, or parables, so that, seeing, they may not perceive; and hearing, they may not understand.
Now, this is the point of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the wayside are people who hear it; but immediately, the devil comes and takes the word from their minds, for he doesn’t want them to believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are people who receive the word with joy; but they have no root; they believe for a while, and give way in time of trial. Among the thorns are people who hear the word, but, as they go their way, they are choked by worries, riches, and the pleasures of life; they bring no fruit to maturity. The good soil, instead, are people who receive the word, and keep it, in a gentle and generous mind, and, persevering patiently, they bear fruit.
In today’s gospel reading we hear Jesus telling the crowd the parable of the Sower and then explaining this parable privately to his disciples. According to him, there are four categories of people when it comes to listening to God’s word. The first three categories receive that word but do not bear fruit for various reasons. One of these is given as being “the riches and the pleasures of life.” Now how does this work out in many cases?
In the first place, let us be clear about one thing: there is nothing wrong with being rich or with enjoying life. A lot of people are excellent Christians, while being rich or while enjoying life. However, they will tell you that they have to be extra careful, especially with the use of their time, because when you have a lot of money, you tend to forget that God is more important than your millions, your stocks and bonds and your money investments. Likewise, when you spend a lot of time watching television or playing cards or drinking with your buddies. These things—all good things—tend to crowd out God from your life, if you let them. So, let us be vigilant in this area of money and pleasure.
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