Today's Gospel, Mt 13,
provides a typical description of the world as it seems Jesus understood it. Again and again in
His parables (and other teaching) Jesus implies that we are in
Battleground Earth. God has made a good creation, but there is another
Evil Force at work trying to undo His goal. Satanic forces (combined with
human sin and the evil in a fallen world) conspire against God. The
outcome is not in doubt, God will be victorious (this is our confidence--i.e. our fide/faith); however, Jesus makes
clear that each of us must decide who will be our Master.[The difficulty is that there are many reasons to doubt...]
The parable of the
different kinds of soil is a transparent picture of our world. God is at
work spreading the "seed"--His loving offer of
life in His Kingdom. People are different kinds of soil. The explanation of the
four types rings true. In general there are four responses to the Gospel call to repentance and faith/faithfulness. There are four different kinds of people.
However, things are not as simple as all that. No one is purely anything (except Jesus). The parable is a simile or analogy, the variety of human beings is like a field. But human are also different. We are a mixture. All of us are blind and deaf to some aspects of
the Gospel, all of us are willing to compromise some of Christ's demands to escape struggle, and we have all seen parts of our
spiritual life choked by the worries and concerns of consumer society. We have different weaknesses and failings, but we all have them...
But this is a Gospel parable, it is Good News! There is a huge upside
to the story: 30, 60, 100-fold production is the abundance of the
Kingdom! We have hope by
embracing Jesus. Remember and give thanks for the abundant production in your life.
At Morning Prayer Thursday and Friday, Mt 24 makes it clear that the story of the soil and seed is not fictional. Jesus was asked by His disciples about the Fall of the Temple and the End Times. His description of the birth pangs was graphic and sobering: Many will be led astray by false Messiahs (political and religious leaders). There will be wars, famines and earthquakes (man-made and natural disasters). Christians will be hated, betrayed, tortured and killed. False prophets lead many astray. Perhaps most chilling is the promise And because of the increase in lawlessness the love of many will grow cold... the love.of.many.will.grow.cold... What follows this promise of false prophets and lost souls, suffering and persecution is the exhortation: the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Jesus' return will be on an unknown day, as fast as lightening and totally unexpected. So we are told to keep watch, to be expectant and live each day as if it were out last.
That is the kind of soil we must be. We must put first things first (the Kingdom and its righteousness) and the central person (Triune God) must be at the center of our lives. With God's grace, our values, priorities and concrete decisions make us Kingdom ready soil. We need to be self aware and do a thorough examine of our spiritual state: we must take stock of the soil in our own hearts. Jesus' message cannot be
heard by those who do not seek Him. We are aliens and foreigners; citizens of God's kingdom, living in the world.
What parts of your life are the beaten path? Where are you oblivious?
What compromises do you make in your
discipleship? Where are you weak and fearful?
What are your worries
and concerns focus you away from Jesus and the Kingdom? Where are you choking?
(Good News!) Where do you see Kingdom
abundance? Where is the Holy Spirit producing? Where is
your love flowing?
We live on teh brink of Kingdom abundance. The seed of God is perfect, it is the soil of our hearts that needs work. Fear not, Jesus is faithful.