Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The sower went out to sow

"Jesus said 'A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell along the path, and was trodden under foot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew, and yielded a hundredfold.' As he said this, he called out, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.' And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, 'To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.Now the parable is this:  The seed is the word of God.  The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. And as for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience.'" (Luke 8: 5-15) 

Dr. Mona Ebeid wrote in Al-Macarrat, Issue No. 906, 2010:

Luke presents the above Parable differently from Matthew and Mark. His style presents a more brief and unified account. We find "three" symbolic elements in his writing that insist on action.

He uses the verb "Go out" 
1. The sower; 2. went out; 3. to sow his seed,

This style is a teaching yet communicative style that aims to attract the attention of the listener and invites him to understand the depth of the divine word and to apply it in a practical way.

In interpreting this parable two more "threes" resemble those of Mark with some difference. The first difference with Mark is that Mark emphasizes the danger on the word while as we find the emphasis of danger in Luke is on the human person.

The seed that fell among thorns represents the situation of those who do not yield fruit because a chain of dangers in life threatens them:
1. Anxieties
2. Riches 
3. Pleasures

The brief words in Luke carry three wider symbols:
1. Not only the anxieties of the world, but the anxiety of life in this world in the absolute sense with all of its matters, preoccupation, and confusion.
2. Not only the desire to be rich, but material richness in itself and in all its forms.
3. Not only pleasures of this world, but all desires that long for living in pleasure only.

As for the seed that fell in the good soil, it represents those who: 
1. listen to the word (with a good heart);
2. and keep it;
3. and become fruitful (in perseverance).

So Luke did not present the symbolic meaning of the infinite quantity of fruits as Mark did, but presented rather the quality of fruits as "perseverance" has a three-pronged approach
1. Confirmation in the word of God,
2. Continuous efforts to live in every divine grace,
3. Patience before the challenges that cannot be escaped.

M. Cocagnac, Les Symboles Bibliques, Paris, 1999, L'agriculture divine, 102-105.

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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