Mk 4:11 – 20

And he said to them, It is granted to you to understand the secret of God’s kingdom; for those others, who stand without, all is parable: so they must watch and watch, yet never see, must listen and listen, yet never understand, nor ever turn back, and have their sins forgiven them. Then he said to them, You do not understand this parable? And are these the men who are to understand all parables? What the sower sows is the word. Those by the way-side are those who have the word sown in them, but no sooner have they heard it than Satan comes, and takes away this word that was sown in their hearts. In the same way, those who take in the seed in rocky ground are those who entertain the word with joy as soon as they hear it, and yet have no root in themselves; they last for a time, but afterwards, when tribulation or persecution arises over the word, their faith is soon shaken. And there are others who take in the seed in the midst of briers; they are those who hear the word, but allow the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches and their other appetites to smother the word, so that it remains fruitless. And those who take in the seed in good soil are those who hear the word and welcome it and yield a harvest, one grain thirtyfold, one sixtyfold, one a hundredfold.

In Conversation with God:

… God copiously pours out his grace on everyone. The labourer does not look for different qualities in the soil beneath his feet, but freely casts his seed in a natural and indiscriminate way. In the same way, God does not make any distinction between rich and poor, the learned and the ignorant, the fervent and the lukewarm, the man who is cowardly and the man of courage…

… Christ presses the grain in his wounded hands, soaks it in his blood, cleans it, purifies it, and throws it into the furrows, into the world with infinite generosity…

… it is not possible for stone to become productive soil, or that the path should cease to be a path, or that the thorns should stop being where they are. With souls it is otherwise. It is possible for stone here to be transformed into rich loam, and for the path no longer to be trodden on or to remain an open thoroughfare for all those who pass by, and for all of these to become instead a fertile field. It is possible for the thorns to disappear and for seed to bear fruit on that ground…

… the apostolate always yields fruit out of all proportion to the means that have been used. If we are faithful, God will grant us to see, in the next life, all the good produced by our prayer, by the hours of work we offered up for other people, the hopeful conversations we had with our friends, the hours of sickness endured in a spirit of sacrifice, the result of that encounter we never heard any more about, and the fruits of everything that seemed to us to have come to nothing.


This parable is not so much about the sower or the seed, but the ground. We are of earth. … until thou goest back into the ground from which thou wast taken; dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Gn 3:19 What kind of earth, what kind of ground, are we? for the seed which is the Word which is sown by God?


… we’re all standing with our backs against the wall sooner or later, waiting on a phone that never calls at all, heartbreak comes rolling in like a storm sooner or later, trying to swim but you’re sinking like a stone, alone…


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