Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Do you understand this parable?

10 Minute Daily Retreat - Read the Daily Gospel with a prayerful heart.
Jane Borg (No.70)    
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.  And he taught them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 
 “Listen! A sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 
 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it had not much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil;  and when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root it withered away.
  Other seed fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.
 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.”
The Purpose of the Parables
 And when he was alone, those who were about him with the twelve asked him concerning the parables.  And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables;  so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven.” 
 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?  The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown; when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which is sown in them.
And these in like manner are the ones sown upon rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy;  and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.
And others are the ones sown among thorns; they are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 
But those that were sown upon the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:1-20)
Photography: Carl Davies
 The parable of the sower is one of the most familiar parables in the gospels. The problem with familiarity is that we can often skip over such stories and forget that we all need to be reminded of the truths held within. So it is with this parable that challenges us regardless of where we are in our discipleship journey.

We live in an entertainment world, don’t we? The world has so much to offer but much of it is transient – most consumer goods are out of date as soon as they are released and we are chasing the next ‘thing’ to have or to occupy us. But these transient things – electronics, clothes, fads, ideologies, sport, money even friends – are not what will bring us happiness and fulfilment; nor will they draw us into the heart of our loving saviour.

God has given us His loving Word – alive and active. He gave us Jesus Christ, His son, this Word incarnate, to show us how to live out this Word; how to love; and how to bring this Kingdom of God to others. But how open are we to God’s Kingdom in our lives?

Are we the path, where we are so consumed by all on offer that we pay no attention to God’s Word?

Are we the rocky soil; listening to God’s Word but giving it no value so that as soon as we are troubled or it challenges us, we abandon God for an ‘easier’ answer?

Are we the thorny ground; walking in our faith and even involved in ministry, yet our hearts are strongly held by our worldly passions so there is little or no Godly fruit in our lives? 

Or are we rich soil; where God’s Word has taken root, is nourished by regular watering and brings God’s Kingdom alive in our lives in in the lives of those we meet?

5 minutes: READ the text slowly.
REFLECT on a phrase or word that struck you.
SPEAK to God about your thoughts.
5 minutes: LISTEN to God speak to you.
RESPOND with a prayer that feels right for you.

Jane Borg

Next Reflection: Malcolm Davies Friday 30th, January, 2015