Unity not uniformity – Friday, 16th Week in ordinary time – Mt 13:18-23

 One third of Jesus’ teachings were in parables. His objective was to make His message as simple as possible so that the message of the kingdom would take root and bear an abundant harvest. Chapter thirteen has seven parables relating to the kingdom of heaven and the first of these parables is the parable of the sower.

Realistically speaking, this title of this parable is misleading. The parable is not about the sower or the seed as much as it is about the soil. There is no preferential treatment shown or given by the sower whose identity is assumed to be Jesus himself. The seed scattered is the same; the real focus of the story is the soil or the listeners of this parable.

Jesus chose the idyllic setting of the Sea of Galilee to tell this parable; it was here that He had handpicked the twelve. Now in the face of a growing following, He sat in a boat while the crowd stood on the beach.

Chapter thirteen begins by telling us that that Jesus told the crowds ‘many things’ in parables. We can safely assume that Matthew’s collection of seven such parables, in this chapter, were only some of the many wonderful parables that Jesus shared in order to spread His message.

The readers of Matthew’s Gospel would have had no problem understanding this parable for they were living its consequences. Matthew’s community was no care free hippie generation. Their decision to follow Christ clandestinely or openly meant that consequences followed. The range of rejection and persecution was spread over thickly from family to state. The possibility of being put to death for one’s belief always loomed large.

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