In the scene in the Gospel today, it looks like Jesus is going to practice some social distancing. He is getting the boat, before the teaches his disciple this wonderful parable we hear today. It is all about bearing fruit!
In order to bear fruit, we have to live in the spirit. In other means the scriptures tell us that we have to find union with God, to stay close to God. In that way we are like the seed that falls in good soil and bears fruit. We should not be deluded by fears and the things of the world. That is of no use to the children of God. As the first reading tells us. God’s ways are always higher than our ways. He does not think in the same way mortal human beings think. We have to get to know him and set aside everything we think we know about him. In order to know him we have to open our spirit and heart so God can reveal himself to us. God is incomprehensible to our limited understanding and can only be fully known in the Spirit. He can only be fully known when he reveals himself to us. That is what it means when scripture tells us to “seek the Lord while he may be found and call upon him when he is near”. He is near to us when we open our spirit to receive him. He is near when we are silent and are able to experience his presence within us. If we are thirsty, we need to come to that source of living water within us. The place where Gods Holy Spirit dwells in us.
It as the Lord tells us: “he who has ears, let him hear’. In Greek the text uses the word akoueto or akoúo. In our language it means to hear, listen or perceive. That is what Jesus is talking about today: understanding, hearing, listen or perceiving. We have to take these words of the Lord to ourselves. We should not understand them with our mind and what we think it means or what other people (pastor, scholar, theologian) think it means. But what the Lord is telling us. We should understand his message within our hearts, within our spirit. We often want to explain it with our limited understanding. As if we can understand it if the Lord does not reveal is to us. We need to live in the Spirit and let the Spirit teach us the right way. We don’t want to be like the rocky ground, the path or the thorns. That is all short term following of the Lord. No, we want to be like the seed that fell on good soil and produced much fruit. Jesus talks about the fact that we need to understand the Gospel if the Kingdom. If not, the evil one will snatch away and with it our joy. We need to stand firm in that Gospel, even when persecution and hardship comes.
And we need to make sure that we live the Gospel, the true Gospel and not a cultural adapted Gospel. Because that Gospel sometimes sounds more like paganism then true Christianity. After Jesus expressed His reasons for speaking in parables, he showed the result of the word of the Kingdom in each of His listeners. Although there are four kinds of soil listed, there are only two types of listeners compared. Jesus talks about: those who listen to the Word, but do not understand it and those who listen to the Word and do understand. It is the personal commitment that is the benchmark of real listening and true understanding. It is necessary to enter into its deep meaning. Second thing we learn is that it is necessary for the Word to be received with joy. Such a welcome can become unstable when the first enthusiasm has gone. Maybe because of experiences of suffering and persecution, maybe because of hardship in one or the other way. But if we really want to follow Jesus and his True Gospel that is inevitable. Because when we live with God, we speak truth and that is not always appreciated. The third is there are things that can choke the Word. It might be the riches of the world or our attachment to the world and all that goes with that. Finally, the seed lost in the threefold soil is compensated by the fruitful result. So, the parable in the Gospel offers three aspects of a persevering faith: listening, understanding and bearing fruit.
If we follow Jesus and listen to his words, we will understand the truth and the truth shall makes us free. If we understand what Jesus says, then we will be truly followers of his Gospel of the Kingdom. It will bring us joy, even if it brings persecution or hardship. And as result of that we bear fruit. Everyone in the amount that the Lord grants it to us. Amen.