The Bible is full of stories and references to country life. Such imagery sinks deep into the consciousness of the listener, in a way that words do not. Jesus’ audience would have been very familiar with the sight of the sower and knew of the hazards facing seeds as they fall to the ground. Perhaps in most of us there is a landscape that is varied, with pathways, rocky ground, thorns and fertile tracts. Sometimes we can be so busy that we do not even hear the word, or we have good intentions but somehow we get absorbed in other things. However we know of occasions when something someone says or does makes an impression on us. It can be God’s way of conveying his word.
Bishop Martin Drennan talks about soil being more receptive if its is disturbed: after all, fields must be ploughed before sowing. John Newton, the author of “Amazing Grace”, was a slave trader, but when the ship he was travelling in ran into a storm off the coast of Donegal, he prayed fervently and they eventually made it into Lough Swilly. This was the beginning of his conversion to Christianity and his becoming a zealous abolitionist. As any gardener knows, a plot needs to be dug, fertilised and weeded. It is the same with the garden within us, which needs constant tending with loving prayer, so that the word of God may grow and flourish.