parable of the sower


Saturday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 448

Lk 8:4-15

In the parable of the sower Jesus has a particular approach to farming, yet not an exclusive one. In his parable the sower is simply broadcasting seeds on what likely was a minimally prepared plot of land. I would also guess, based on this seeding method, that the sower was broadcasting a grain seed such as wheat. Here the sower casts out the seed indiscriminately and then lets nature take its course. There are of course much more productive methods of farming, which have much higher productivity and a lesser reliance on nature. In these the fields are furrowed with a plough, the seeds precisely placed and irrigation systems supplement water from the sky. Worries like seed falling on a path or rock don’t exist, and to at least a small percent, even weeds of the field can be brought under control. Cultivated fields can be quite productive and are a major achievement of mankind. Why didn’t Jesus make more mention of it in his parable? The image of a farmer broadcasting seeds does relate well to how Jesus broadcast his gospel. The hierarchy of intensive  labor involved with cultivated fields also relate well to how some of Jesus contemporaries viewed the relationship of Gods word as represented by the sowing of those seeds: selective in its audience, hierarchical, and labor intensive. One was nature, the other civilisation.Natural versus contrived? One is a marvel of Gods grace, the other mans boisterous domination over creation ? One is how God acts, the other how man acts as God ? There are a lot of things to think about in a parable, both in what they mention and sometimes in what they don’t.

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