Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
(Hebrews 10:11-18; Mark 4:1-20)
Anyone familiar with the New Yorker magazine remembers a favorite cartoon that was used on its cover. The drawing shows a man dressed in a fashionable coat with a tall top hat. He is examining a butterfly with his monocle as if he were seeing one for the first time. The man seems totally unfamiliar with nature. He would probably not understand Jesus’ parable in today’s gospel. It would sound to him like a discussion in a foreign language.
In the passage Jesus explains that the parables are not intended for everyone. He implies rather that they are meant for the poor in spirit who can appreciate the chore of growing food. These people would naturally pick up on his comparison of the word of God with seeds being planted. They would realize that some hearers of the word are never touched by it because of sinful inclinations in their makeup. This is like the seed that is sown in places where it cannot grow to produce fruit. They would also be aware that a harvest of a hundredfold is tremendous. It is like the person who has become a saint.
We should not be bothered if we have difficulty understanding Jesus’ parable. Even his disciples needed an explanation. But we should try to profit from his explanation. We need to be careful not to be led astray by new ideas that distort the gospel message. Similarly, we should not allow ourselves to be caught up in pleasures and vain pursuits of life. Also, we want to allow the word of God to take root and grow by prayer and study. In these ways we too will hopefully become saints.