When Jesus finishes telling the parable of the sower, he makes this invitation: «Anyone who has ears should listen». He asks us to pay attention to the parable. But what are we supposed to reflect on? The sower? The seed? The different terrains?
Traditionally we Christian have focused almost exclusively on the terrains where the seed falls, in order to look at what is our attitude as we listen to the Gospel. However it is important to also watch the sower and his way of sowing.
The first thing Jesus says in the story is: «A sower went out to sow». He does so with a surprising confidence. He sows abundantly. The seed falls and falls all over the place, including where it seems impossible for the seed to germinate. That’s how the farmers of Galilee did it: they sowed even on the sides of the paths and in rocky places.
It’s not hard for people to identify the sower. That’s how Jesus sowed his message. They saw him go out every morning to announce the Good News of God. He sowed his Word among the simple people who welcomed it, and also among the Scribes and Pharisees who rejected it. He never got tired. His sowing won’t be fruitless.
Overcome by a strong religious crisis, we can think that the Gospel has lost its original power and that Jesus’ message no longer has power to attract the attention of men and women today. Certainly this is not the moment to «harvest» resounding successes, but it is the moment to learn to sow without getting discouraged, with more humility and truth.
It’s not the Gospel that has lost its humanizing power, but ourselves who are announcing it with a weak and wavering faith. It’s not Jesus that has lost his power to attract. We are the ones who have distorted him with our senselessness and contradictions.
Pope Francis says that, when a Christian doesn’t live a strong adhesion to Jesus, «he quickly loses enthusiasm and stops being sure of what he is transmitting, he lacks power and passion. And a person who isn’t convinced, enthusiastic, sure, in love, doesn’t convince anyone».
Evangelizing isn’t propagating a doctrine, but making the humanizing and saving power of Jesus present in the midst of society and in people’s hearts. And this can’t be done just any old way. What’s most decisive isn’t the number of preachers, catechists, teachers of religion, but the evangelical quality that Christians radiate. What are we spreading? Indifference or convinced faith? Mediocrity or a passion for a more human life?
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf