The Parable of the Sower has always seemed pretty straightforward. If you sow your seeds in the right place, you were in for a good harvest. Let them scatter to the roadway, or on rocks, or where thorns grow, and not so much.
Not being a farmer, I have been inclined to think the soil is at fault here. But reading the church fathers on the parable, they thought differently. The disposition of the soil, whether it’s rocky or on the roadway, is determined by grace. Our redemption is by God’s grace, and the seed even falling on one of the soils is the first act of grace in an individual’s heart.
In the first reading, Nathan has a word from the Lord for David, who can show us how God’s word–the sower’s seeds work in one man. Will David’s heart be the thoroughfare, the rocky soil, or the thorns?
David wants to build a temple, but God says no, it’s not his calling. Nathan recounts how God had worked in David’s life. He took him from the pasture, went with him through all of his battles, and now would give him rest. David did not need to build God a house, that house would be built by David’s heir, God’s true Son.
The fruit that God raises up in David didn’t spring up instantly–it was the product of years of following the God of Israel. In some of those times, his heart was fertile soil, as when he was Israel’s champion against the Philistines and killed the blasphemous Goliath. He would not usurp Saul, who was God’s anointed king. But his heart was not fertile soil for God’s grace when he took Bathsheba and had Uriah killed. Yet God still sends his grace, and David repents when confronted with his sin.
The workings of grace are a mystery. We can only know that God is gracious and loves us and is merciful toward us. Let’s ask him to keep us in his grace, so that we will bear fruit for him.
Pamela joined Diocesan’s staff in 2006, after a number of years in the non-profit sector. Her experience is in non-profit administration including management, finance, and program development, along with database management and communications. She was a catechist in her parish RCIA program for over 15 years, as well as chairperson of their Liturgy Commision. Received into the Catholic Church as an adult, Pamela’s faith formation was influenced by her Mennonite extended family, her Baptist childhood, and her years as a Reformed Presbyterian (think Scott Hahn).