The parable of the sower » Manila Bulletin News



Matthew 13:1-9


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, 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.”



Bearing much fruit. The Gospel, often called the “Parable of the Sower,” is also known as the “Parable of the Four Soils,” since it is aimed at the hearers of the Word. How do they respond to the good seed being sown among them?

In Palestine of Jesus’ time, a common method of sowing seed is use the “broadcast method.” The sower, carrying the seed on his back, simply walks the length of the prepared field, throwing out the seed by hand in all directions. Thus, it is perfectly understandable how the seed lands in various places.

The seed is the “the word of the Kingdom” (Mt 13:19), and, as noted in the First Reading, it is a powerful and effective word that does God’s will and achieves the end for which it was sent (cf Is 55:11). One also recalls that the sower, identified in another parable, is Jesus himself: “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man” (Mt 13:37). Thus, fruitfulness depends on the type of response a hearer gives to God’s Word. Good seed has been sown; are conditions favorable for its growth?

The seed on the pathway is similar to the Word falling on hardened hearts; since it cannot germinate, it is a ready target for the birds (Satan) to steal and destroy. The seed on stony ground germinates, but the soil is shallow, and it dies for lack of roots. The seed among the thorns starts its growth, but it is choked off by the competing cares of the world.

The seed on good ground, the fertile soil, grows and yields abundant fruit. Bear in mind that an especially good crop in Jesus’ time will produce a tenfold harvest; thus, anything more is an abundant increase, a bumper crop, whether it yields a hundredfold or sixtyfold or thirtyfold. Indeed as the Responsorial Psalm notes, “The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.”

At the end of the parable, Jesus emphatically says, “Whoever has ears ought to hear!” We are challenged to open our hearts and allow God’s powerful Word to penetrate. Do we have spiritually receptive hearts and minds? Do we genuinely hear God’s Word?

God expects fruitfulness from us, a genuine harvest. Jesus says, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain…” (Jn 15:16).


SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2017,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail:; Website:

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