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January 30, 2019: Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Reading Hebrews 10:11-18
Gospel Mark 4:1-20

“The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.”

Given that Saint Mark’s Gospel account—the shortest of the four—focuses more on Jesus’ actions than His preaching, we ought to take special note of the preaching that Mark does include in his Gospel account. We might, then, consider the parables Mark includes as his “best of…” list.

Today’s Gospel passage has three parts. The first and the last are Jesus’ proclamation of a parable, and the parable’s explanation. In between, Jesus briefly explains His general purpose in preaching through parables. Most of the fourth chapter of Mark consists of parables, and today’s Gospel passage consists of the first twenty verses of Mark 4, so today’s parable is of primary importance.

The Parable of the Sower, Mark’s telling of which is a mere six verses, has inspired dissertations hundreds of pages long. Like the mustard seed (to allude to a different parable), this parable’s size belies its potency. To choose one simple facet of today’s parable: who is the sower? There are at least two answers. We can consider the sower to be either God the Father, or you as an individual. Consider the former possibility.

The sower is God the Father. He sows His Word (God the Son) prodigally. What seems like foolishness or imprudence in His manner of sowing is in fact a measure of His love’s depth. He offers His Word even to those of us whose souls are rocky or otherwise inhospitable. The challenge here is for each individual to till the soil of the soul, or otherwise tend it as needed to allow the word to take root there.