Faith Daily | 25 January 2023
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p530
the strength of all those who put their trust in you:
mercifully accept our prayers,
and because through the weakness of our mortal nature
we can do nothing good without you,
grant us the help of your grace,
that in keeping your commandments
we may please you both in will and deed;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 4: 1-20
Again he began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3“Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. 6And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. 7Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” 9And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
10When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12in order that
‘they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’”
13And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? 14The sower sows the word. 15These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. 17But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, 19but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing. 20And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Rev’d Jane
The parable of the Sower is one of Jesus’ most well-known parables. And for good reason. This story has implications that are just as powerful today as the first time Jesus told it.
Jesus was a masterful teacher largely because he was so good at telling stories and giving illustrations. He illustrated difficult teachings with visual images that help us understand and remember. That’s what’s so powerful about the parable of the Sower; it’s a perfectly illustrated story that helps us understand God’s truth for us.
This parable starts with the farmer going out and spreading seed. And the rest of the parable talks about the soil in which this seed falls. While we call this the parable of the Sower, it’s more of a parable of the soil. This parable teaches us the Sower (who is God) sows generously but the rest of the parable centres around the soil. Us.
In total there are 4 kinds of soil in this story. Some seeds fall on the hardened path. Others fall where the topsoil was thin. Some fall in the thorns. And finally, some fall in good soil. The image that may be in our head is a farmer with a satchel full of seeds from which he is reaching in grabbing handfuls of seeds and throwing them on every inch of his land.
Each of these kinds of soils represent our hearts, and the seed is the Gospel. Seeds cannot bring life in hard pressed soil. Similarly, the Gospel cannot take root in a hardened heart. Plants need roots that go deep to get water and nutrients to survive. Similarly, Christians need deep roots that continually renew and refresh their faith. The seed in the thorns represents those who may look good on the outside but have let sin creep in on the inside. Although they might say that Jesus is Lord their lives tell a different story. The seed in the good soil send out their roots to go deep and can sustain the hardships of life. They have guarded their hearts to ensure no thorns can choke out their life. They are primed and ready to grow and their lives produce more than they could have ever imagined.
In this parable, however, the farmer is not concerned with the kind of soil the seed will fall on. He’s liberally spreading seed. This is much different than how we farm today. In Jesus’ day you sowed and then ploughed. Thus, the harsh grounds that chokes out life might become fertile. The Sower is sowing generously because he knows the more he sows the bigger his crop. Yes, he’ll lose some of his seed. But the return is worth the cost.
The parable of the Sower is a challenge for us to cultivate our hearts. And it’s also a promise. A promise that if we cultivate our hearts, the life that God will bring in you and through you will be greater than you can imagine. I encourage everyone to regularly evaluate your own heart and see where the seed falls.
Lord God, in your wisdom you created us,
by your providence you rule us, you have planted us,
penetrate our inmost being with your holy light,
so that our way of life may always be one of faithful service to you.
May we never hesitate to run to your all-forgiving arms of mercy,
when we allow the rocks and thorns of this life
to prevent our growth and our steps as we return home to you