Jesus gives four examples of how people receive God's Word that he is proclaiming. He uses the metaphor of seeds landing on different kinds of ground: a trampled path, on rock, within thorns, and in good soil. This parable can be read, and has been read, to indicate that when we fall into one of these four categories, there we are stuck. Our faith is either trampled on and eaten by birds, or withered up on rocky ground, or starting to grow and then chocked by the world, or taken root and growing in good soil. This seems a bit too fatalistic and pre-destination minded for me.
I think one of the things Jesus is saying is that when we are spreading God's love, we ned to expect one of these four metaphors to take place during our efforts, and to not be discouraged that all the seeds we throw do not immediately take root. I also think Jesus is saying, not that we are stuck in one of those four categories for all time, but that there are options for us, always. That, yes, seeds are fragile and take care to root appropriately, but that we are given endless opportunities to be that good soil. And being that good soil we can stand up to those lean and draught-filled times that come to all of us. I believe this Gospel can be read to exemplify the transitive nature of all our spiritual journeys, for we are never finished being formed and growing into God's image.
Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.