In the first few verses of Luke 8 (vv. 1-3), the evangelist makes mention of the twelve apostles, along with three women, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna, who were with our Lord as he "went through every city and village, preaching and bringing glad tidings of the King of God." The significance is there was always a crowd following Jesus. Rarely was he alone.
On the Sunday of the Parable of the Sower, (October 19) we are reminded once more of our Lord's far reaching preaching and teaching. He was, in effect, always sowing seeds. Occasionally, some followers embraced the word of God with a good heart, kept it, and bore fruit with patience. These men and women produced a bumper crop.
More often than not however, those who received the word fell away. Even in the time of Jesus Christ.
How much of the seed Christ sowed still ended up as bird seed? Plenty.
Consider the following:
a. He fed 5,000
b. Multitudes were present on the Sermon on the Mount
c. The roads were filled as he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday
d. And then today we are reminded, he often preached in cities, yet in smaller villages as well
On a smaller scale, when he raised Jairus' daughter, the house was full and there was chaos. The New Testament is full of other example of the multitudes who heard the Word of God.
Yet on the day of Pentecost, the evangelist Luke records there was just 120 present (Acts 1:15).
Looking back, it can be said with certainty that our Lord never forces anyone into a relationship with him. God always respects the freedom he created each person in.
We are all called to share the Word of God, to sow seeds. Yet, we refrain, offering perhaps we don't have the education or skill level necessary to do so, or concerned perhaps of our failed efforts in the past. Our days are filled with to-do lists, yet rarely on those lists is the need or desire to establish better human relationships. Witnessing to Christ's resurrection is a powerful witness, prophetic, and often unbeknownst to us, helps to sow seeds.
The success rate of sowing God's word won't always be successful. It doesn't mean we don't put forth the effort though.
The message of the today's gospel lesson is simple: Get Busy, Start Sowing.
-Fr Marc Vranes