Outstanding among the heroic founders of the United States was Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). Printer, author, publisher, inventor, scientist, businessman, thinker, statesman, and diplomat, Franklin was a great blessing to the U.S and to humanity. I read a story about Benjamin Franklin by Msgr. Arthur Tone. One day he received a gift of a whisk-broom from India. He noticed a few seeds fastened to wisps of the broom. Franklin planted them. When the first crop came up he distributed the seeds among his friends and neighbors. Their crops flourished. Thus, Franklin was responsible for introducing broom-corn into the American colonies and starting the American broom manufacturing industry.
All three readings invite us to reflect on the power of the Word of God. In the first reading, Isaiah reminds us that like rain and snow earth fertile, the powerful word of God always produces fruits. In the second reading, Paul, in the midst of persecution feels peace in having preached God’s word. In the Gospel, we listen from the Gospel of Matthew the parable of the sower.
Gospel of Matthew, the entire chapter of thirteen, the discourse in the parables. We will be listening to Jesus talking in parables the next few weeks. Jesus took the life story of the people and tried to teach them the Word of God.
Jesus is the sower, and the Word of God is the seed and our hearts and minds are the soil. Jesus in this parable invites us to look at our heart and ask a question that how fertile is our heart to receive the Word of God. It depends where we are in our life. In the parable, the seeds fell in different places like, on the path, rocky ground, among thorn, and rich soil. If we want to produce many fruits we need to have a receptive heart.
This parable aims at the hearers of the Word of God. There are times we hear the Word of God with a shut mind. There is no chance to enter into their heart. Pharisees know the scripture, but they don’t understand the Word incarnated among them, because they think Jesus is a false prophet.
There are times we hear the Word of God with a mind like shallow ground. They want to follow Jesus, but the cross is a challenge for them, quickly drop it. There are times we hear the Word of God, but the mind and heart have crowed with so many interests and things. There are times we hear totally focused on the Word of God, we embrace it and produces many fruits.
The Prophet Isaiah says in the first reading that this is what we need to do God’s work. He predicts that we will embrace the Everlasting Word. And he prophesied that the Word of God would be returned to Him.
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,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.
St. Paul tells in second Corinthians 9:10, “The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”
Christ is the gardener, seeds are the Word of God and it is in our world. The fate of seed depends on what kind of soil receives those seeds in. Let us make work on our soil, our mind and heart, to receive the Word of God, cherish and nourish, so it can produce many fruits.