Parables are meant to get us thinking…just as we think we understand the point of the story, upon further reflection another layer is revealed. Like a fine gemstone, as we mull it over and turn it around in our minds, we discover more and more facets of the story that at first glance may not have been so obvious. That is the amazing quality of the parable. In this parable, some interpret the sower as God and the indiscriminate sowing of the seeds as an example of God’s all-inclusive love for all peoples. The seed sown is “the Word” offered to everyone, regardless of the potential that they will accept it and allow it to grow within them…or not. Perhaps God sees possibilities of growth and abundant harvest and transformation amongst the thorns and rocky soil that we cannot even yet imagine! It seems to me that “the Word” being sown today is “the Word of Justice”, sown in the thorns and rocky ground of racism and bigotry. And “the Word” is crying out for racial justice in the midst of unjust structures that systematically favor one race over another: white privilege. And God’s “Word” will take root and grow, as we have seen it do in the hundreds of thousands of the Black Lives Matter protesters across this country and around the globe.
For Isaiah told us that God said “so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” That “end” is justice and equality for all God’s children! What are the “thorny or rocky” parts of my life where the seeds of the Gospel have yet to yield an abundant harvest? Where in the world is the rocky soil on which God has sown seed from which is springing new growth at this moment that both surprises and delights? Where am I being called to tend to “the Word” that needs to be cultivated and nurtured in the rocky and thorny world around me?