Have you ever been asked to imagine yourself as soil? Probably not in everyday life or at a cocktail party. In catechetical programs, however, picturing yourself as soil is a fairly common occurrence. The Parable of the Sower is usually a starting point for catechesis and lists four different kinds of soil. We read in the Gospel of Matthew:
“On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables,[c] saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.” (Mt 13:1-9)
The four kinds of soil Jesus mentioned represent the various levels of receptivity that are common to all of humankind. Before we can receive God’s grace (seed) in our lives, we need to keep our “plot” in the best shape possible. From the “path” that represents hard, impenetrable ground, to the rich, fertile soil, our preparedness is key. Jesus further explains:
“Hear then the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” (Mt. 13:18-23)
Let us pray for the grace to till the soil of our hearts to receive God’s abundant and amazing blessings as we journey toward Heaven.