Eleventh Sunday Ordinary Time – What a Parable! (1. Structure)

Sower & SeedThere is a story beneath the story in this parable, it seems to me. [Reminds me of Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story”] Our first attempt to deal with it involves looking at its structure in terms of its relationship to the first “Seed Parable” in chapter four. I believe you will remember “The Sower and the Seed.”

It deals with the surprising outcome of abundance after so many losses. There is hope.

Sower sows seed          on Path       Rocky ground     Thorns                Good soil

                                         Birds ate     No depth             Choked seed       30/60/100fold

[Explanation]               Satan          No root/               Cares&Riches      Hear/accept/fruit                                                                        fall away at persecution

Scholars talk about this parable: the first [parable] emphasizes that the farmer can do nothing to produce or hasten the end of the process. in fact the farmer DOES nothing. Nice job, eh?

It also stresses the farmer’s lack of insight or understanding of the process of growth. AND, it lays out the stages of growth, which, when recognizing the full grain, he sends (apostello – yes, like sending out the Twelve, the disciples. Hmmm) the pruning hook. The common sense translation of sickle misses the connection with “they shall beat their swords into pruning hooks.”

Sower Sows        Sleep&Rise         Night&Day         Seed sprouts he knows not how

      Seed On Earth          Blade                  Ear of Corn         Full grain

Sower sends        Pruning hook to harvest

So, this little story has a story beneath its story. One way to get at it is for you to look at your life.

  1. At which points in your life was the Word of God sown?
  2. When did the birds show up?
  3. When did you have no depth?
  4. When did the cares of the world and the lure of riches choke the Word’s growth?
  5. When did you discover the abundant growth of the Word sown in your life?
  6. Is it time for you to send out your pruning hook to harvest the growth?

More tomorrow!



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