Today’s Gospel from Luke (8: 4-15) is the rather famous account of the sower who generously scattered seed. So often the ‘take away’ from this account is focused on the ‘good soil’ that yields a rich harvest. However, it seems another important aspect of this teaching of Jesus can be found in the very work of the sower, who scatters the seed.
By Jesus’ own interpretation of this parable, we know the seed scattered is the Word of God. Therefore, the Sower is God Himself. Thus, we are not surprised by the generous and incredibly hopeful manner in which the seed is sown every where, including places that worldly wisdom would never dream of sowing seed, such as well worn paths, rocky ground and briar patches. Worldly wisdom would only plant the seed in places where one would expect a return of a generous harvest.
Part of what can easily be overlooked in this Gospel because of our familiarity with farming (sowing seeds) is that the Seed being sown is no ordinary Seed. God is scattering throughout the world His Word, and the Word is Jesus Christ. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Indeed, this ‘scattering’ of God is very generous, because it is the spoken Word of God, which is a Word of eternal truth and love.
Again, this Seed sown by God has highly unusual characteristics. The Word of God, Jesus, is spoken into every human heart, with the eternally optimistic hope of God that it will bear the Good Fruit of leading each person to eternal life. As this Word of God is spoken into your heart and mine, we then also become the seed that God scatters in the world.
Are we open to being that ‘seed’ of God’s Word? Are we disposable to God’s intention and plan to be cast wherever God so chooses?
Today I am very mindful of the manner in which God ‘sends’ His disciples out into the world, in ways well beyond our own imagining. Today, the world is awaking to the news that Bishop Blase Cupich has been named the new Archbishop of Chicago. (Congratulations, Archbishop Cupich!)
Here is a man who became a priest in the Archdiocese of Omaha, was sent to Rome for seminary training, later worked as a priest in the Nunciature of the United States in Washington, D.C. and in 1998 was named Bishop of Rapid City. Eleven years later he was sent as bishop to Spokane, Washington, only today to become the ninth Archbishop of Chicago. He is just one example of an individual who has opened his life to Christ and allowed that he be ‘scattered’ to whatever direction God wished to send him.
Here is the final point. God is continually ‘scattering’ His Word throughout the world, but the whole purpose of this ‘scattering’ is to ‘gather all into one through Jesus Christ.’ Here is how Von Balthasar speaks of this ‘scattering and gathering’ of God in the person of Jesus:
through the scattering of his disciples into the whole world, going to all peoples not to bring them into geographical unity but to tell them of the higher unity of salvation of the Cross and Resurrection, of the Church and life in the gospel, which spans the whole world. Christ scatters in order to gather more universally. Christ scatters, and whoever lets himself be scattered by him in his mission will gather with Christ.
May we always find our ‘center’ in Christ; our ‘identity’ in God’s WORD. May our lives always be a continual proclamation of Christ to the world. May each of us always be humble and open to be ‘scattered’ by the will of God for the gathering of all into the One Body of Christ.
Bearing good fruit requires being rooted in Christ and being ‘scattered’ by God.