READING: MATTHEW 13:1-23
He said, “Listen, a sower went out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up at once, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Anyone who has ears should listen! (Matthew 13:3-9)
Did you know?
A crystal vase falling off a table in an empty room makes no crashing sound when it hits the marble floor. An alarm going off in the same room does not create any noise. A tree falling on the ground does not upset the silence of an abandoned forest.
Sound is produced only when the waves generated from the source of the disturbance reach the ears of a human (or an animal, for that matter). So if there is no one to hear the disturbance, no sound is actually produced. Because sound depends entirely on the hearer.
Much like the Word of God.
Here’s the truth.
God is communicating with you. He speaks every time you hear mass. He speaks whenever you read the Bible. He speaks through the books that you read. He speaks in the events happening in your life. He speaks through the people He sends your way.
But whether God’s message makes an impact and a difference in your life depends not on the depth of what He says; it depends entirely on the quality of your hearing.
Jesus talks about four kinds of hearers.
First Kind: Neither Hear Nor There
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the Evil One comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the seed sown on the edge of the path. (Matthew 13:19)
I remember when I was in grade school. My teacher was explaining the process of photosynthesis. I could hear her, but I had already decided by then that science was not a bit interesting to me, so all I heard was bla-bla-bla.
I didn’t pay any attention.
Which is probably the reason why every plant I’ve ever attempted to take care of died on me.
Last year my friends invited me to a cooking demo. Having zero cooking knowledge and skills, I was excited to finally take the first step in this direction. I stood beside the chef in the kitchen, acting as her assistant, following every instruction she gave me: put this ingredient and that ingredient in the pan; mix this ingredient with that ingredient; slice this, stir that. We successfully made Saltimbocca, Chicken Penne with Shrimp and Chocolate Sabaglione that day. I felt pretty proud of myself as my friends and I ate what we prepared in the kitchen.
But it’s all a blur now.
After I came home that day, I never looked at the recipe again. I never once tried to recall what the chef said in that kitchen. I never practiced what I learned.
That experience did not bear fruit in my life. (Not yet, at least.)
This is the first kind of hearers: those who don’t make any effort to understand what is being communicated to them.
Are you listening?
Have you ever gone to mass and sat through the sermon only to realize a few days later that you can’t recall what the spiritual lesson was all about? You either didn’t pay attention to the priest (and your thoughts were somewhere else) or never gave the sermon a second thought after the mass. This consequently gave the Evil One a window of opportunity to carry off what God was trying to sow in your heart.
Don’t be a passive listener.
If the Word of God is to bear fruit in your life, you must give it time to enter and take root in your heart. You must allow it to incubate through reflection. No one grows spiritually by simply listening to talks or reading spiritual books. No one.
So pay attention. Listen to understand. God is sowing the seed of His Word right now. Take hold of it before the Evil One does.