The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Week XV, Cycle A in Ordinary Time, 12 July 2020
Isaiah 55:10-11 >><}}}*> Romans 8:18-23 >><}}}*> Matthew 13:1-23
Parables constitute the heart of Jesus Christ’s preaching. From the French para bolein which means “along the path”, parables are simple stories with deep realities that must be cracked open through prayers and reflections to uncover its meaning.
In fact, every parable by Jesus is a word of God that is like a seed that must be received, planted, and nurtured so we may eventually see and experience what is within it who is God himself!
On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. As he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”Matthew 13:1-9
Jesus, the mysterious seed
Beginning today until the last Sunday of this month of July we shall hear different parables by Jesus taken from this 13th chapter of the gospel according to St. Matthew.
It is very interesting that as Jesus now begins to preach in parables, we also notice his usual usage of this image of the seed, especially of the mustard seed to stress to us what we have mentioned earlier about the significance of parables as simple things with deeper realities. Every seed is so small, easy to overlook and taken for granted. Yet, we all know how every seed is also the presence of what is to come in the future, of something so big and huge that we can never imagine.
That is how Jesus would always portray the Kingdom of God, which is himself, his very person who is always taken for granted but full of mysteries that later in the fourth gospel he would reveal a deeper reality of this seed akin his Cross:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”John 12:24
That is the mystery of the seed, the mystery of Christ: something so ordinary we take for granted with immense possibilities when given up, when it dies. In this parable of the sower, Jesus shows us a hint of this profound truth about himself as a mysterious seed, someone who must be broken to die in order to grow and bear fruit.
If we read the full text of today’s gospel, we find Jesus explaining the meaning of this parable and we discover that he himself is both the sower and the seed: he goes out everyday to bring us the good news of salvation, providing us with seeds we must plant so we can have food in the future.
Every seed Jesus sows in us is always good as the first reading assures us.
Thus says the Lord: Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful… so shall my word; my word shall not return to me void.”Isaiah 55:10-11
Most of the time, we reflect on this parable on the importance of the soil on which the seed is sown.
This Sunday, let us reflect on what kind of a seed are we, of how we waste or put into good the enormous potentials packed in each of us by God.
“A sower went out to sow. As he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up.“
Jesus the sower does not make distinctions on different kinds of soil; he just scatters the seeds freely. His words concern everyone.
Unfortunately, there are some of us who do not care at all, as hardened as the path or pavement.
These are the people who has no plans in life, no directions, spending their lives watching days pass without knowing that they are really the ones passing by.
Sometimes, they just go wherever the winds would lead them while once in a while, they step out of themselves a little to join friends or peers wherever they may be going. Eventually they leave when the journey gets farther.
They are literally wasting their lives.
“Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots.“
They are the “spur of the moment” type who eventually end up as what we call ningas-cogon (a kind of local grass when dried is highly combustible; quick to start fire but quick to extinguish too).
Beware of them who are at the beginning very enthusiastic in every project and endeavor but when the goings get tough and difficult, they are the first to leave.
No roots, no foundations in life. Easy to give up. Just as hard as those seeds on the pavement.
“Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.”
These are the people who thrived a little but eventually the “thorns of the world” choked them that they eventually dried and died.
They are the kind of people we lament and sometimes grieve, wondering what have happened within them that their hearts have suddenly turned away from God and others with their noble causes we used to share with them at the beginning.
Oh, they are well represented in Congress, especially the party-list representatives of various advocacies for the marginalized and less privileged who eventually come out with their true colors and ugly features. Some of them simply stopped thinking and feeling the other persons, blinded with power and wealth selling off their souls completely to any golden calf willing to pay them.
The modern Judas Iscariots.
“But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.“
We now come to the better seeds (because all are good seeds, remember?).
They are the ones who fell on rich soil and produced fruit because they were the ones who willingly gave themselves up to the Sower. They are the ones who let go and let God, those who let themselves “die” and fell on the ground to give way to new life.
They are fruitful, not successful; the former relied on the powers of God, patiently bearing all pains and sufferings while the latter relied on their own powers, own intelligence and even connections that on the surface may seem to have the upper hand but totally empty inside.
The fruitful seeds are those willing to fall and be broken by God according to his divine plan. Many times, what is fruitful to God may be failures to us humans. Being fruitful is not about results and accumulations we have made but what have we become.
Fruitful people are focused on with the future glory to revealed by God through our pains and sufferings as St. Paul reminds us in the second reading today.
Let us not put into waste this good seed sown in us by Jesus Christ, allow it to be cracked open and broken to let the new life within us spring forth and lead us to becoming fruitful. Amen.
A blessed week ahead to everyone!