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Today’s Reading: Mark 4:1-9

1 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he taught them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it had not much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil; 6 and when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Today’s Commentary:

The parable of the Sower. Jesus places himself in a long line of OT prophets whose message was received by some but rejected by many (Mt 23:37; Heb 11:32-38). Jesus is the sower whose message likewise elicits diverse responses. The condition of the soil in each scenario determines one’s reaction to Jesus (see CCC 29). Three responses prove unfruitful: those like the path are corrupted by Satan (4:15); those like rocky ground are hampered by weak and partial commitments to the gospel (4:17); those with thorns are entangled in the distractions and concerns of the world (4:19). Jesus’ graphic language (devoured, scorched, choked; 4:4, 6-7) underscores the opposition facing the gospel. In contrast, the good soil is receptive to God’s word and yields an abundant harvest (CCC 2707).
The imagery in Jesus’ parable evokes Is 55:10-13, where Isaiah describes God’s word as a powerful and effective force. He cannot sow his divine word without bringing blessing and accomplishing his will.